Paul George (29 points, 7 assists) played like an MVP in Game 1 against the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Saturday. But it wasn’t enough for the Pacers to overcome the defending champs as they dropped a barn burner 109-108. They don’t — they can’t — get closer than that. And if that’s what Cleveland makes of its homecourt advantage many believe the Pacers — who entered the playoffs on an upswing (winners of five straight) — could knock off the Cavs, who entered losing four in a row.
Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter‘s theory about who wins championships might be relevant as early as the first round for the Cavs. Jeter once opined: “The best teams make the postseason, but the hottest team wins the championship.” The Cavaliers are undoubtedly among the best teams in the NBA — they have the rings to prove it. They also have LeBron James, and James has never lost a first round series in his amazing career. But the Cavs sure don’t fit the bill as the “hot team” in this first round series: that accolade belongs to Paul George and the Pacers. And even Game 1 didn’t dampen the Pacers heat — they almost stole the first one at Cleveland. But as Jeter could tell you, great teams can turn hot in a hurry. Game 2 is Monday in Cleveland and on TNT.