NBA Playoffs 2018: Ty Lue says Cavaliers need LeBron James to 'set the tone early'

In easily the most surprising result from the eight Game 1s that were played over the first weekend of the NBA Playoffs, the Indiana Pacers crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers by 18 points on the road to take control of the series. Right from the opening tip it was all Pacers, as they jumped out to a 33-14 lead after the first quarter. 

Obviously, the Cavs can't let that happen again in Game 2, and on Monday head coach Ty Lue said the key to making sure it doesn't happen is LeBron James' aggressiveness. Via ESPN:

"He has to be aggressive and set the tone early," Lue said Monday. "We talked about that today ... being aggressive early, setting the tone, especially for these new guys, bringing these guys along. He understood that, but once again, he's always a guy trying to get his teammates off early, get them guys going, then try to feel the game out. But be ready to set a tone."

LeBron had a strong game on Sunday, registering a triple-double as he finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. However, he didn't even take a shot until the 1:52 mark of the first quarter, when he was fouled by Domantas Sabonis. At that point, the Pacers were already down by 17 points -- a deficit that proved to be too much to overcome. 

In giving an explanation, LeBron said he was just trying to read the game and keep his teammates involved. 

"That's just how the game was being played," James said after totaling 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes. "Guys had great looks and they just didn't go down. ... There was two on the ball at times. I was assisting and guys just couldn't make shots to start the game, so it was just how the game was going on."

LeBron's eagerness to get the other players involved is part of what has made him such a tremendous player throughout the years. However, in this series, Lue is correct. This is the least talented team LeBron has played on since the first time he was on the Cavs. He can't afford to sit back and let the game come to him as much as he's done in the past. 

That doesn't mean he needs to come out shooting the ball every time down the floor, but as Lue said, he needs to be aggressive in the first few minutes to get the Cavs off on the right track. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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