Oladipo, Pacers Hand LeBron, Cavaliers Game 1 Playoff Defeat

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  Victor Oladipo Pens Heartfelt Players Tribune Essay

James netted 24 of Cavs' 80 points in his 44 minutes on court though it was the first time the National Basketball Association superstar has ever lost the opening match in the first round of the playoffs.

Scribbles in my Cleveland Cavaliers notebook as they open the playoffs Sunday at The Q against the Indiana Pacers:1.

James hasn't lost a single game in the first round for six years and is a ideal 12-0 since returning to Cleveland in 2014.

The Pacers enter the playoffs in the eyes of many the same way they entered the season. You obviously have take the good with the bad when it comes to Lance but at least the Pacers know he isn't going to just disappear in this series.

A first-round exit for LeBron would ultimately be a major surprise, but this nonetheless stacks up as what should be a competitive series. "We'll defend him like we did in the regular season". But we went through a lot in the offseason as well. The total will improve from Game 1 but it still falls a little short of the number as there's a big jump to be made here. 12 of those lineups were equal to or better defensively than their season-long average. It's when James shines most. The three-time champ is coming off perhaps his finest regular season, and there's no reason to think he won't be at his best in April, May and probably June.

The Cavaliers will face the fifth seed Indiana Pacers with home-court advantage in the first round.

The Raptors and Wizards split the season series 2-2, typical of a season where Washington played best against quality competition. "You could give it (the MVP award) to him every year, but it wouldn't be fair to everyone else".

The Indiana Pacers were not expected to be competing in the playoffs.

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Oladipo played like the No. 2 pick he was a few years ago out of IU, earning a much-deserved All-Star berth and making game winning shots George only makes in commercials.

It was clean and Stephenson went on to be dynamite off the bench all game, a trend that must continue for the Pacers to hand LeBron his first ever first round loss.

His teammates and opponents may change from year to year in the postseason.

"My responsibility has been the same for quite a while now: Go out and try to dominate". The playoffs - especially the first round - could be a sorting out process for Lue. With Irving gone, Kevin Love has become Cleveland's second-most important player. It's also a chance to win a championship with James, a former playoff nemesis. Turner sank a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to provide the halftime margin. Turner is now 5 of 26 overall, 0 for 9 on 3-pointers.

During a summer press conference, after new general manager Koby Altman answered a question about a potential trade with the Indiana Pacers for Paul George that fell through, Gilbert followed up with: "I will say that Indiana could've done better than it did". He's grateful for a fresh start.

"They came in and dictated the tempo, were more aggressive", James said. Right now, how I feel, I feel where I need to be and I'm healthy going into the postseason - as healthy as you can be going into the postseason. The Cavs eventually climbed within 10 points after two straight driving baskets by LeBron James. He's still doing it.

While in Miami, LeBron and his amigos beat the Pacers in consecutive years - 2013 and 2014 - in the Eastern Conference finals.

"He's a tough player, he's always challenging me", Stephenson said. "I think we can play any type of style".

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