The Indiana Pacers were not expected to be competing in the playoffs. Cleveland had won 14 straight first-round games, last losing on April 22, 2010, the last season of James' first stint with the Cavs. IN won the opening game of the series 98-80 on Sunday afternoon.
However, huge contributions from a number of players led to a solid season for Indiana. Oladipo was superb, scoring 32 points on 11-of-19 shooting and adding four steals. It seemed that LeBron acted like a clean swipe by Stephenson was flagrant, which prompted a long review. I'm a little nervous about the first-round series with Indiana.
Oladipo said Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert provided him with extra motivation, citing his offseason remark that IN should have received better talent from Oklahoma City IN return for Paul George. They'll first face an exciting Indiana Pacers team led by Victor Oladipo.
Dating back to his days as a member of the Miami Heat, LeBron James has enjoyed an interesting relationship with Lance Stephenson. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue hasn't announced his starters. The playoffs this time around promises to be a spectacle and we have many interesting matchups to look forward to.
Game 2 of the Cavs-Pacers series is set for Wednesday night.
The Raptors and Wizards split the season series 2-2, typical of a season where Washington played best against quality competition.
Prior to the season, few outside of the Pacers organization expected that to happen.
In particular, three factors tend to have the most predictive power: the regular-season performance of the two teams as measured by point differential, their head-to-head record in the regular season and home-court advantage. IN has played good ball the last month or two and have a belief it can win this series.
Love was fouled on the play and missed the ensuing free throw, but the Cavs trailed by just eight heading into the fourth.
For it's been a season of stranger things, and none has sunk them yet. Not always do they need to push, especially considering the athleticism of IN, but at times, it could reap benefits.
"It's very important for our guards to run the floor, Bron playing with pace, (George) Hill playing with pace". IN ranks nearly at the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating, at 12th and 14th respectively. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers ranked 24th.
As the Indiana Pacers prepare for the NBA playoffs, which start on Sunday afternoon on the road, I couldn't help but think of the 30 for 30 ESPN documentary "Survive and Advance", which tells the story of North Carolina State shocking the world and winning the 1983 NCAA men's basketball championship. If the Cavaliers can do this successfully, it should be a quick and easy series.