Pacers conquer Cavaliers behind Oladipo, poise under pressure


CLEVELAND, OH – APRIL 15: Victor Oladipo #4 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates with Lance Stephenson #1 on their way to a win in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 15, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. Indiana won the game 98-80 to take a 1-0 series lead. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – No question who was King of Quicken Loans Arena Sunday afternoon as Victor Oladipo scored a game-high 32 points, leading the Pacers to a playoff-opening win over the Cavaliers.

“I believe that we believe that we can win,” said Oladipo after the game. “We came into this game playing with a mentality that we were gonna attack on both ends of the floor and play like we’ve been playing all year.”

The only time Sunday’s result was ever in any true danger came as the Cavs whittled a 23 point Pacers’ lead down to seven early in the fourth quarter. Still, tense situations are nothing unusual for this year’s Blue and Gold.

“We’ve been there so many times this season,” explained Myles Turner. “We’ve been down 20. We’ve been down 30. We’ve been down two. Things have gone this way. I feel this is more of a way for us to be battle tested.”

“I think the biggest thing was we didn’t waver as a team,” added Thaddeus Young. “We continued to stay focused, and we understood they’re gonna make runs. It’s just a matter of us going out there and punching back.”

You could say Lance Stephenson hit the hardest, as the Pacers’ guard was called for two fouls in particular against LeBron James that caused the Cavs’ star to wince or fall to the ground. One was deemed a technical foul by the officials, but with the final score going in Indiana’s favor, Lance’ll take it.

“Our goal was to play hard, control what we can control, and just go out there aggressive and make it hard for them,” said Stephenson.

No doubt, the goal will be the same for game two, scheduled for Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. in Cleveland.

“Right now, I’m focused on game two,” said Oladipo. “We gotta be ready. They’re gonna come out ready on both ends of the floor, but so are we.”

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