The Cleveland Cavaliers began their NBA title defense with a nail-biting win over the Indiana Pacers, 109-108, on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.
It was the first game of the NBA playoffs, which continue until the NBA Finals in June. Cleveland is favored to return to the finals.
The contest was close most of the way. The Cavaliers led by 5 points after the first quarter and 7 points at halftime; 66-59. They finished the third quarter with an 8 point lead over the Pacers.
The fourth quarter saw the Pacers make a furious run at the Cavaliers, to take their first lead of the game late in the period, and lead by as much as 3 points.
The game was in doubt until the final seconds when the Pacers could not make a basket to overcome the slim, 1-point lead held by the Cavaliers.
It was an excellently played fourth quarter with only one turnover in the final stanza for each team. The defense, on both ends of the floor, was well-played until the final spurt by the Pacers nearly stole the game from the defending champs.
Star forward, Paul George led the Pacers with 29 points and 7 assists. Lebron James led the Cavaliers with 32 points and a game-leading 13 assists, while guard Kyrie Irving added 23 points.
The Cavaliers lead 1-0 in the opening round series. The teams will lock horns again Monday night, April 18th in Cleveland.
Written by D.T. Osborn
Edited by Cathy Milne
ESPN: Cavaliers survive to claim Game 1 win
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Erik Drost’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License