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INDIANAPOLIS — With the Indiana Pacers unable to move up from the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference Tyler Johnson Jersey , the team will likely have a new look for the regular-season finale on Tuesday night against Charlotte.
For the Pacers to have reached the No. 4 spot, the Cleveland Cavaliers had to lose back-to-back games to the New York Knicks. But after Cavs beat the Knicks on Monday night, Pacers coach Nate McMillan is expected to rest his starters and key reserves quite a bit against the Hornets.
Rest might be welcome thing.
“Yeah, I thought that they fought through some fatigue,” McMillan said of his players in Sunday’s 123-117 win at Charlotte. “Even though we won, I thought that we were flat for most of this game. We found a way to get some energy. I thought the bench came in and gave us a lot of energy and played well to help us get this win.”
Pacers center/forward Domantas Sabonis scored a career-high 30 points.
“My teammates were trusting me like always and I do my best to finish,” Sabonis told Fox Sports Indiana. “I love it here. It’s been a very fun year. I love my teammates, coaching staff and I’m just happy to represent Indiana.”
Sabonis averages 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds.
“He’s always crashing the boards, plays well in the pick-and-roll, a very, very smart IQ guy,” Pacers point guard Cory Joseph said.
After scoring below double figures for the first time all season Friday night with five points in a loss at Toronto, Pacers leading scorer Victor Oladipo bounced back with 27 points.
The Hornets were plagued by 22 turnovers, and Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said in four of the last five games turnovers have been the difference.
“I think we’re first or second in the NBA in taking care of the basketball Steven Stamkos Jersey , but four of the last five games we’ve had 17 or 18 turnovers, which is more product of playing more guys and something that you can live with,” he said. “So we did some good things. Those guys in the fourth quarter did a good job, so we’ll go there on Tuesday and see if we can put together longer periods of good play.”
Clifford said he will start thinking about the offseason later. After the Hornets won four in a row, they have lost five of the last six games.
“It’s been important to me that we play these games well so in nine of the last 10 we’ve been pretty good, competitive and organized,” he said. “So we’ve been putting just as much into these games as we have all year and frankly you worry about the next season in the next season.
“I want to win Tuesday and I want (the players) to, too. So I haven’t even thought about stuff like that.”
Hornets rookie guard Malik Monk, who averages 6.5 points, has scored 20 or more points in the last three games.
Clifford said Monk has gotten better with his pick-and-roll game and has been more efficient offensively.
“The thing he is doing better is he’s making plays for other people,” Clifford said.
Clifford has noticed Monk’s assists-to-turnovers numbers have been solid recently as well.
“That to me is as much of an indicator as anything of the growth that he’s made in terms of learning how to play in a manner that both he can score and the rest of the guys can play well when he’s on the floor,” he said. “In this league at his size (6 feet 3), pick and roll is going to be a big part of it.”
CLEVELAND, Ohio — As the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers commuted to their workouts Tuesday http://www.officialavalanche.com/authen … her-jersey , they drove through temperatures hovering near the freezing mark and steady snow.
Before Game 1, there was no outdoor party in Cleveland celebrating another Cavs‘ playoff run, as there is usually before every postseason game.
A driving rain and cold temperatures saw to that.
And now, for the first time in LeBron James’ career, his team is down 0-1 in an opening-round playoff series.
This just doesn’t feel like playoff basketball in Cleveland.
“I would say our intensity, at least until we got hit in the mouth that first quarter, it didn’t quite feel like, I guess, the playoffs,” Cavs forward Kevin Love said. “That’s a weird thing to say. It feels like the playoffs, especially now that we’re down 0-1. We better be ready for it.”
The Pacers won Game 1, 98-80. Game 2 is at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Cleveland.
The Cavs trailed by 20 points before James even attempted a shot on Sunday. Love only scored nine points and Jeff Green was shut out in 27 minutes.
The Pacers, meanwhile, were led by a playoff career high of 32 points from Victor Oladipo. They forced the Cavs into 17 turnovers. Myles Turner scored 16 points. Dating to the regular season http://www.officialcapitals.com/authent … sov-jersey , Indiana has won four out of five against the Cavs.
“They underestimate us,” said Indiana reserve Lance Stephenson, who scored 12 points. “They didn’t think we would get this far and they didn’t think we was going to win that many games, but if you look at our team, I guess you could say we don’t have that one player or the type of players that stand out and that’s why they underestimate us.”
Whereas the Pacers sound confident they can pull a historic upset — James’ teams have never lost a first-round series — the Cavs seem to believe James will set a different tone on Wednesday.
Yes, James posted a triple double in Game 1 (24 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists), but he was clearly passive for the first 11 minutes. James is coming off arguably his finest of 15 pro seasons and averaged 29.5 points, 9.8 boards, and 10.0 assists in his last 30 games.
If that LeBron shows up, coach Tyronn Lue things the Cavs will be fine.
“When he sets the tone early for us, we’re usually a really good team,” Lue said. “So coming out Vladislav Namestnikov Jersey , set the tone early, be able to call plays that feature him early to be aggressive. He’s always going to make the right play and the right pass, get others involved, but tomorrow we’re going to need him to set the tone early, being aggressive and attacking the basket.”
The Pacers received 15 points from Bojan Bogdanovic, but he shot 5-of-17. Darren Collison was 2-of-9 shooting.
The game was so lopsided and the Cavs scored the second fewest points of their season, but the Pacers enter Game 2 feeling like they could still be better, too.
“They’re going to see what they can do from the previous game until now, even us we gotta be better,” Collison said. “There are some things we can improve on. I was looking at the film and we can do better in a lot of different areas so we can’t just take Game 1 and say we won and don’t have to do any improvements. We can be a whole lot better.”
Cavs point guard George Hill left Sunday’s game in the third quarter with a sore back, sustained on an illegal screen by Trevor Booker in the second quarter. Hill is expected to play Wednesday.