NBA Playoffs: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers preview


James, who played 44 of the 48 total minutes, had 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Cavs, but went 7 of 17 from the floor and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. This is a major step up after the team was projected to not even make the playoffs at the start of the year. The big trade that brought in George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson came after the season series was wrapped up.

However, it's abundantly clear that this team will only go as far as Victor Oladipo can take them.

Some pundits will point to the Pacers 3-1 record over the Cavaliers during the regular season as a reason to be skeptical.

The trio dominated the Eastern Conference for the three seasons they were together.

In two home matchups against the Pacers this season, the Cavs dropped the first meeting by 17 - with IN connecting on 62 percent of its three-point attempts before taking the series finale on January 26 - holding on for the seven-point win. It may, at the very least, help convince LeBron James to stay home for a little while longer.

The Indiana Pacers pulled off the impossible Sunday.

The Indiana Pacers are set to face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs. They'll try, but they won't always be able to do this song-and-dance of playing sloppy basketball for most of the regular season and then destroying a couple of teams en route to the Finals.

Once the Cavaliers are done in the postseason, all that remains is where James decides to play next. The Pacers ranked 17th in points per game this season. I've enjoyed every year competing for a championship.We're looking for another run this year. The Cavs finished 5th in scoring and Offensive Rating along with 6th in 3-point shooting percentage, which has been their calling card all season.

Tyronn Lue hasn't let on much about who he plans to start on Sunday afternoon, but he'll have all of Cleveland's backcourt healthy and at his disposal.

The Miami Heat, the No. 2 seed that season, lost to the No. 7 seed New York Knicks in Game 4 of the first round. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers have two big advantages heading into this matchup. The Cavaliers had more turnovers (six) than field goals (five) in the opening quarter: they shot 25 percent from the field, including zero for eight from three point range. IN managed to get some revenge after failing to win a game against the Cavaliers in 2017. If the Boston Celtics can find a way to win two series, they can meet Cleveland in the East Finals, once again.

Lance came off the bench and immediately got under LeBron's skin.