Cavs to face Pacers after dropping finale

Cavs to face Pacers after dropping finale

Cavs to face Pacers after dropping finale

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) passes against Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner (33) in the first half in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Cleveland.

They staggered to the finish line, falling flat and looking nothing like champions.

"We've got to go out there and play hard on both sides of the ball", forward Kevin Love said. The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar sounded ready for the playoffs and he believes they are still capable of winning the championship despite struggling late in the regular season. "I would never say they're vulnerable".

"We have good chance to win it all, but it starts with our opponents in two days", James said.

"With all the injuries and all the things we've been through, I feel good".

The Raptors point guard scored 13 points and had four assists in 17 first-half minutes of Toronto's 98-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers but that was nearly secondary to the fact he got some time in.

LeBron James believes the Cleveland Cavaliers are ready to defend their National Basketball Association crown as the post-season gets underway this weekend with the Golden State Warriors desperate to reclaim their throne.

In the Western Conference, No. 1 Golden State will open against No. 8 Portland, No. 2 San Antonio faces No. 7 Memphis, No. 3 Houston gets No. 6 Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz will meet in the last quarterfinal. Irving, James and Love get most of the attention, but guard Kyle Korver off the bench will be an important part of Lue's game plan.

"Enough talking, the playoffs are here", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said before the game.

The last time the two teams met, Cleveland outlasted IN 135-130 IN double-overtime to take the season series 3-1. "This is a heck of a time".

Thompson played the game with a brace on his thumb that he will have to wear in the playoffs.

Cleveland also got its first look at newly signed 7-foot-3 center Edy Tavares, who blocked six shots and grabbed 10 rebounds.

The two most likely MVP candidates, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, will square off in the #3 vs #6 matchup, while the Clippers will play host to the Jazz in the #4 vs #5 series.

The biggest highlight was Valanciunas' long shot.

"It's who I've wanted to match up against", he said. Additionally, James has averaged fewer than 25 points per game in just one playoff stint in the past 11 seasons.

Here's the bad news: Cavaliers players took multiple games for rest throughout the season in hopes that the rest would allow for healing would result in eventual peak performance. has EXCLUSIVELY learned the shocking reason why he wants teammate Tristan Thompson to shine, and it's not just to get another ring.

The Cavaliers won the season series with IN, 3-1. The Cavs reviewed film with Lue, whose defensive scheme will be focused on slowing Pacers star Paul George, before their workout.

On the season, the Pacers are averaging 105.1 points, 42.0 rebounds and 22.5 assists per game.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 13 points to go with seven rebounds for the Raptors. That hasn't happened since the Bill Russell-led Boston Celtics' teams from 50 years ago.

Two other former VCU players, Briante Weber and Treveon Graham, played this season for the Charlotte Hornets, who failed to qualify for playoffs. "Dahntay is going to make it clear that you're not holding up your end of the bargain", general manager David Griffin said.

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