Cleveland Cavaliers look bad dropping opener to Indiana Pacers: Bill Livingston

CLEVELAND, Ohio – All around The Q Sunday afternoon, fans whipped rally towels with the Cleveland Cavaliers wine color splotched on them.Perhaps that was because they had trampled out the vintage where the grapes of the good years were stored. Maybe that’s not going to be this playoff year.The Cavs’ “Whatever It Takes” motto was on each towel. Clearly, it is going to take far more than that which produced a 98-80 defeat to the Indiana Pacers in the opener of the teams’ first-round series. It was the first loss James’ Cavs have suffered in the first round after 12 straight wins in previous seasons.Bad start for the new guysIn particular, whatever that stumbling first quarter could be called – and pro basketball just wasn’t the term for it — there can be no more 33-14 deficits at the quarter-pole.Other than Larry Nance Jr. with 10 points, the new Cavs (Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and George Hill) were non-factors. All but Hill are playoff neophytes.Veteran Jeff Green failed to score on his seven shots, nabbed only four rebounds and put up a plus/minus of negative 15 points, meaning the Cavs were outscored by that much while he was playing 26 minutes for some inscrutable reason.LeBron James wasted a triple-double (24-10-12) in a lopsided defeat in which the Cavs never led, trailing from 5-4 on.The Pacers sportingly missed 10 of their 25 free throws. The Cavs missed eight of their own 20. Behold: The gangs that couldn’t shoot straight.First quarter folliesAmong other curiosities, James tried his first shot with 1:52 left and the Cavs down 15 points. He was fouled on it. His next shot was blocked.The Cavs ended the quarter trailing by 19. He scored two points.The Cavs insisted on trying to hit long fly pattern passes to James that had approximately the same success rate as that of DeShone Kizer with the Browns.Kevin Love took only eight shots as the offense’s second option, scoring only nine points, but he at least was a board monster with 17 rebounds.

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