NBA Playoffs: Breaking down the Cavs-Pacers series

NBA Rumors: Knicks To Pursue LeBron James This Summer After Jeff Hornacek's Likely Exit, Per 'Bleacher Report'

Pacers To Face Cavs In Round 1 Of Playoffs

Despite an injury-riddled season in which the Cavaliers' roster morphed twice and despite being surrounded by a supporting cast that included rookies and just three holdovers from Cleveland teams he dragged to three straight NBA Finals, James played every game and powered through his 15th pro season like it was another helpless defender in the lane.

"That's great for coach (Tyronn) Lue and the coaching staff that we have everybody available for the first time this season", James said. I've enjoyed every year competing for a championship.We're looking for another run this year.

"He understands he's a big part of what we're trying to do". And I say that with tremendous respect to lots of other people.

"I think having LeBron James, that's one factor and Kevin Love, I think those two guys", Lue said.

With Irving traded and his replacement, the since-traded Isaiah Thomas, out through December, many people predicted before the season Love would put up his best numbers since coming to Cleveland in 2014. LeBron also set career high averages in rebounds and assists in a season (8.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists) and tallied his most triple-doubles in a season with 18. Philly could be without center Joel Embiid to start the playoffs due to his facial injury. And I just feel like his body of work makes me feel very confident and comfortable saying that. I don't know who's the team to beat. "When they're right I don't think anyone can touch them, but they have not been right recently".

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Love shot.458 from the field this season, including.415 on 3-pointers, and.880 at the line.

That said, only time will tell us how well that works out. "When they're running the floor, that opens everything up for Kevin". In this postseason, JR Smith is unlikely to start a single game.

However, let's focus on just IN and more importantly on just Oladipo.

Nate McMillan echoed that sentiment after practice, "We did some good things during the regular season but playoffs is a different style of basketball and a different challenge". He managed a discontented locker room all season and got a team with two legit starters to the playoffs with some sort of voodoo Pop magic, and we're all so used to it that we take it for granted. You just gotta be ready for that, gotta be ready for what they bring to the table. "I'm not sure if he's 100 percent yet, but he's getting better and that's all you can ask for".

Though the Cavs are seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference, Love loves their chances of reaching the NBA Finals for a fourth straight year. While Oladipo was fantastic during the regular season, it will be interesting to see whether he can react well to the added pressure of carrying his team's offense in the postseason.

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