Despite an up and down regular season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it seemed as if the first round was going to go okay thanks to LeBron James. Unfortunately, that has not been enough so far, as the Indians Pacers led the entire way and took down the Cavs in Game 1 on Sunday, 98-80. Victor Oladipo had 32 points to help the Pacers hold off the Cavaliers' multiple attempts at a comeback in the second half. The win for the Pacers snaps James's personal 21-game win streak in the first round of the Playoffs, while also handing the Cavs their first opening-round loss in eight years. It was also the first opening loss in the James's career, as he came in at 12-0 in Game 1s. Cleveland was able to get the deficit in to single digits after trailing by as many as 23 on the night. "King James" had his 20th career triple-double with 24 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds, but the four other starters of Kevin Love, George Hill, Jeff Green, and Rodney Hood combined for just 25 points. The Cavs as a team also shot just 8-of-34 from three-point range, but none of this worried James after the game. When asked about his feelings after the tough loss, James showed no signs of panic and even referenced rallying his team back from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals a couple years ago. There will need to be at least a short rally in this series, and the Cavaliers have plenty of time to think about it, as they will not host Game 2 until Wednesday night.
Celtics Get Past Bucks in Game 1 Thriller
The Boston Celtics-Milwaukee Bucks series could be the most evenly matched first round series with the Celtics playing without star Kyrie Irving for the rest of the year. They were even as can be on Sunday afternoon, as the Celtics survived against the Bucks with a 113-107 victory in overtime. Al Horford had 24 points and 12 rebounds and hit some clutch free throws down the stretch in the extra period to keep his team on top. Milwaukee trailed by 12 early on in the first quarter, but were able to prevent the Celtics from widening the gap, allowing them to force overtime in a thrilling finish to regulation. The Celtics gave themselves a three-point lead with 0.5 seconds left when Jaylen Brown nailed the go-ahead three-pointer. The Bucks seemed to be down for good, but they were able to get the inbound play to Khris Middleton, who sank a quick long-range jumper to stun the Celtics' faithful and extend the game. They went on to score just eight points in the final five minutes, while allowing 14, to end their chances for a Game-1 upset. Middleton finished with 31 points for the Bucks, who were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo's 35 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points, all of which came after halftime. Meanwhile, the Celtics got 23 points from Terry Rozier, 20 from Brown, and 19 points and 10 rebounds from Jayson Tatum, as they proved that they can distribute the ball without Irving. They will host Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night.
Capitals Fall to Jackets in Overtime Again
True Washington Capitals fans will admit that this is "the same ol' postseason Capitals" after watching the first two games of their first-round series. The Capitals dropped their second straight home game in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-4, on Sunday night, falling behind in the series, 2-0. Sergei Bobrovsky made 54 saves, while Matt Calvert scored the game-winner 12:22 into overtime, as the Blue Jackets are enjoying their first ever playoff series lead, as they look for their first series win in franchise history. The Capitals got two power-play goals from Alex Ovechkin, while T.J. Oshie forced overtime by tying the game with 3:35 to play in regulation. Philipp Grubauer started between the pipes for the Capitals and gave up four goals on 22 shots. That caused him to get pulled, and Braden Holtby made seven saves before surrendering the game-winner to Calvert. That game-winning goal made the Capitals just the sixth team to lose both Games 1 and 2 of a series in overtime. The previous five teams have gone on to lose the entire series. In Stanley Cup Playoff history, only 49 of 361 teams who have faced an 0-2 hole have come back to advance to the next round. The Capitals look to avenge that scary statistic, and that process begins when the series shifts to Nationwide Arena in Columbus for Game 3 on Tuesday night.