Higgins: Cavs Played Game 1 Like They Were "Baking A Cake"

The Cavs played with no urgency in Game 1, Rod Higgins said, and could have a seven-game series on their hands

Taz and the Moose
April 16, 2018 - 9:21 am

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LeBron James has played in seven consecutive NBA Finals. If he hopes to extend that streak to eight, he and the Cleveland Cavaliers will have to play much better than they did in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Sunday.

The Cavs trailed Indiana 33-14 after the first quarter and never recovered, losing 98-80. 

How concerned should the Cavs be right now?

“Well, you got to be concerned,” former NBA GM and current NBA TV analyst Rod Higgins said on Taz & The Moose. “They lost the game, but watching the game, you saw the lack of urgency on the Cavs’ part. It was almost like they came in expecting to have a different opponent and a different result. I’m sure coach will address that, the players will look in the mirror, and you’ve still got the greatest – or one of the greatest – of all time, and he’ll look in the mirror and come out differently in Game 2.”

Victor Oladipo scored a game-high 32 points for Indiana to go with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. The Pacers were the better, more active team from start to finish.

“There’s no question,” Higgins said. “You can see pace of play was totally different. It was almost like watching the Cavs play like they were just going to kind of play their way into the game. Normally with the playoffs, you come out from that first jump at a high level and you’re trying to really implement your style of play against the other team’s style of play and who’s going to control the game. So it was almost like baking a cake, so to speak. They just kind of waited, waited, waited, and then when they tried to turn it on, the Pacers were already at that level. Their engine’s were going, the players were not affected in terms of the playoffs, the moment was past them, so they were feeling comfortable. They got a great player in Oladipo, and so at that point, they felt like, ‘We can beat these guys.’”

James finished with a triple-double – 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds – but didn’t get much help. The other four starters combined for 25 points, as Cleveland shot 38.5 percent from the floor, including 8-of-34 (23.5 percent) from three.

“LeBron’s going to do what he does,” Higgins said. “He’s going to stuff that stat sheet, he’s going to play at a high level, and he’s basically unstoppable when he puts his head down and he wants to get to the rack. I think the other players on the team are going to have to find ways to try to get involved, particularly on the offensive end. Whatever your strengths are – if you’re a three-point shooter, if you’re a post-up player, if you’re a penetrator – you have to try to do those things for your team to win. Ultimately, LeBron is one man and he’s a mighty big man, but he’s going to need other guys to kind of do what they do.”

Game 2 is Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

“The Pacers, they’re going to think they can get Game 2 as well,” Higgins said. “I don’t see them getting that, but why wouldn’t they feel that? I think Cleveland will make some adjustments, but it could be a seven-game series.”