KEVIN McNAMARA: Is this it for King James? Don't bet on it

KEVIN McNAMARA: Is this it for King James? Don't bet on it

Eight of those wins came without Embiid.

After all those ups and downs, the Cavaliers find themselves as the fourth seed facing off against the fifth seeded Indiana Pacers in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32) vs.

With the Cavs sitting 3rd in the conference for much of the season, it didn't look as if this matchup was likely.

Rather than trade George to the Cavs on draft day in a deal that would've meant Kevin Love going to Denver and the Pacers getting Gary Harris and other pieces, in backed out and instead sent George to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. The Pacers possess no true defensive stopper that can check LeBron all game long because he just wears the opponent down every possession. James had a streak of 21 straight wins in the first round going. I wouldn't be surprise if he puts up two or three triple-doubles this series and has a 40-point game or two. League leader in total points and clutch scoring. Larry Nance Jr. coming off the bench, has been huge over the last few weeks of the season and he could play a big role in how far the Cavs can advance this post-season. In each of his previous eight trips to the finals, his team has been either a 1 or a 2 seed, but this year, the Cavs are a 4 after an inconsistent season that saw them rearrange the roster in very significant ways at the trade deadline. The 10th-year pro also demonstrated the ability to hit shots from well beyond the 3-point arc in transition.

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue will use a 10-man rotation against IN and has already named Green as a starter and Calderon as a must play off the bench. The Cavaliers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Sunday games, 16-34-1 ATS in their last 51 home games and 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games overall. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was among the doubters, saying the Pacers "could have done better" than getting Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in exchange for Paul George.

James continually defies his age, posting one of his best statistical seasons of his career. The 14-time All-Star called Stephenson "a little dirty" after a scuffle in their January 12 game.

Myles Turner might get the start in the middle for in, but they don't hesitate to give major minutes to their promising sophomore big man, Domantas Sabonis, who finished with 30 points off the bench in Indy's penultimate game of the season and has nearly doubled his averages from his rookie campaign in OKC. "We've had many film sessions and one-on-one sessions to try to improve and he's shown that".

"Everyone is watching", Lance Stephenson said.

The Raptors and Wizards split the season series 2-2, typical of a season where Washington played best against quality competition.

The game had plenty of words exchanged between the two. He also picked up a technical for a hard foul on LeBron James.



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