Porous Cavs have no choice but to keep chucking to try to beat Pacers
Gregory Shamus / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Indiana Pacers did something historic Sunday, handing LeBron James his first-ever defeat in a playoff opener, and taking a 1-0 lead on the road in their first-round series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Indiana did everything right in a 98-80 win, swarming the Cavs' offense and attacking at will.

Everybody knows the Cavs are bad defensively: They finished second-last in the league in regular-season D. And again Sunday, James appeared disinterested in helping on that front, instead seeming to take issue with his teammates.

But the Pacers, specifically Victor Oladipo, toyed with them. A couple times in the first half, Oladipo appeared to start running downhill against a switch, only to pull up before the arc and drain a three. Indiana led by 17 at halftime with Oladipo mostly shooting from outside; he didn't really begin attacking until the second half, blowing by the likes of Kevin Love with ease.

Beyond porous defense, what foiled Cleveland on Sunday was their own atrocious shooting: 38.5 percent from the floor and just 8-of-34 from beyond the arc.

This is why the idea that this particular Cavs team could be eliminated early and deny LeBron an eighth straight Finals appearance holds some serious water this spring. While last year's Cavs were shaky defensively, they were simply a better team than this iteration.

Now, along with legitimate questions about whether they can do anything to mitigate the speed of Oladipo or the length of Myles Turner, they're going to need to shoot their way out of trouble.

It's not that they can't, but they need dramatic improvements. James had an off-night in Game 1, shooting 0-for-4 from deep. Jordan Clarkson and Kyle Korver went a combined 0-for-5, and Jeff Green became Orlando Jeff Green again after a prolonged stretch of efficiency.

The Cavs are by no means done. They were the NBA's sixth-best 3-point shooting team during the regular season, including a 46-percent success rate against Indiana. The Pacers did great work Sunday pushing their opponents late into the shot clock and disrupting them enough to take them out of rhythm, and they'll need to continue that.

Porous Cavs have no choice but to keep chucking to try to beat Pacers
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