Death, Taxes, and the Indiana Pacers vs LeBron James

Oladipo: Gilbert remarks 'added fuel to the fire'

Eight of those wins came without Embiid.

The playoff rivalry between LeBron James and Indiana Pacers forward Lance Stephenson was renewed in Sunday afternoon's Game 1 between the Cavs and Pacers.

The Cavaliers almost traded away Love for Paul George last offseason. The Pacers traded George to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. That was a big change for them: remember, last season in Game 3 of their series with Cleveland, they blew a 26 point lead and lost by five.

If Korver isn't ready, Rodney Hood, one of four players acquired at the trade deadline, will likely start.

Although the Cavs have had more makeovers this year than any leading lady in Hollywood, the Pacers took three of four during the regular season.

In terms of individual matchups, the Pacers should feel pretty good about the way their top players shredded the Cavaliers' bad defense. This is a second-straight opening-round meeting with the Pacers as James had much individual success in the 4-0 sweep a year ago where he had four double-doubles and averaged 32.8 points on 54.3 percent shooting from the field and 45 percent from beyond the arc along with 9.8 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 3.0 steals, and 2.0 blocks in 43.8 minutes per game. The series shifts to IN for Game 3 on Friday. Cleveland had won 14 straight first-round games, last losing on April 22, 2010, the last season of James' first stint with the Cavs. The Cavs stormed back and got within seven, but Oladipo hit a big 3-pointer and Bojan Bogdanovic helped put Cleveland away with a 3 to make it 88-71.

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Trailing 69-50 in the third quarter, Cleveland used a 13-1 run, capped by Love's deep 3-pointer, to trim the deficit to 70-63. "So, it's very important that we try to keep a point guard on the floor with him at all times". This year will look quite a bit different, however, as Cleveland no longer has three of their top five scorers (Irving, Deron Williams, and Channing Frye) from that series and IN no longer has their top two (Paul George and Jeff Teague).

Like most Heat games this season, all four matchups with the Sixers were close, with both teams winning a pair by nine points or fewer. We still have no idea how good this team will be.

The Indiana Pacers were not expected to be competing in the playoffs. Oladipo has thrived in Indiana's offense and has set career highs in points, assists and rebounds this past season. Cleveland's poor offensive day also ensured the game went well under the total of 216.5. On the other end, five early points from Myles Turner and back-to-back three-point plays from Bojan Bogdanovic allowed IN to open up an 18-4 lead.

Love missed 23 games to injury, but averaged 17.6 points and a team-best 9.3 rebounds.

James finished with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, but the Cavaliers as a whole struggled with their shooting touch throughout the game, especially when it came to 3-pointers. "He's the best player in the league". But with lineups changing on an nearly game-by-game basis over the final weeks of the season, it's been a moving target. Eighteen triple doubles and 52 double doubles.

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