Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Cavaliers open playoffs at home Sunday against Indiana Pacers

Pacers prepare for Cleveland in playoffs Pacers prepare for Cleveland in playoffs
Frederick Owens | 16 April, 2018, 04:56

As long as LeBron James is with the Cavs, they are the team to beat.

Is this the spring where The King and his Cavaliers fall behind a surging pack of younger, hungrier contenders? They are the defending Eastern Conference champions and are favored to make another trip to the NBA Finals.

Those are just some of the questions lingering around the opening of the National Basketball Association playoffs this weekend. All the players are important but Oladipo's health will be key.

"They came in and dictated the tempo, were more aggressive", James said.

The Cavs made it a single-digit game in the fourth quarter but that was as close as they could get as the Pacers. The incomparable, 33-year old James has owned the conference for what seems like forever.

"It definitely could", Love told ESPN on Friday on whether Cleveland's playoffs could be impacted by James" free agency or vice versa.

Facing him means an early exit. Will he leave town on top?

"That's great for Coach [Tyronn] Lue and the coaching staff that we have everybody available for the first time this season". "I think your mindset has to be to stop him and to want to win against him".

Can you really do that? "But the East's gotten a lot better".

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The Cavs' playoff theme is: "Whatever It Takes". The Pacers are a deeper team than the Cavs in terms of raw numbers, but they lack the same level of talent. But, this series won't be a cakewalk for the Cavs.

The problem is, Victor Oladipo had other plans in mind. The snake-bitten Celtics have to be shaking their heads.

Will LeBron make the finals again? . This has immediately drawn the attention toward how James will respond to being in this situation for the first time.

LeBron James contributed a triple-double for the Cavaliers with 24 points on 7-of-17 shooting, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Even without star center Joel Embiid (bone fracture, left eye) the Sixers finished the regular season on a 16-game winning streak. IN came in 15-6 in the playoffs when it wins the opener.

It is a high-risk, high-reward strategy; according to The Athletic, Oladipo has turned the ball over more than 40 percent of the time this season when facing a trap. This year, Kyrie Irving will not be running the point.

The 2018 playoffs have finally arrived for the Cleveland Cavaliers and what a year it has been.

The Cavaliers no longer have a "Big Three", so they're going to need big performances from their "Dynamic Duo" if they are to have another long playoff run.

Following a regular season that went up, down and sideways for the Cavs, the postseason has finally arrived.

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