Against the Pacers, specifically, this will be the third postseason meeting between the Central Division foes (1998 First Round, 2017 First Round), with Cleveland sweeping IN 4-0 IN last year's opening Playoff round. "I'm not comparing it to a year ago".
But there is an element of unknown with the Cavs' post-season hopes given the lack of experience within their roster, many therefore expecting forward James to have to take on much of the responsibility for the No 4 seed. LeBron James has been down this road many times before and has three rings to show for it. "It's 4-5 for a reason". They also became the first team since 1954-55 to go undefeated in a single season when leading after three periods of play. But we went through a lot in the offseason as well.
Following a regular season that went up, down and sideways for the Cavs, the postseason has finally arrived.
James is coming off a 2017-18 campaign in which he suited up for all 82 games for the first time in his career. Led by Victor Oladipo, they shocked everybody with their prolific offense and high energy. He averaged 32 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, three steals and two blocks as Cleveland swept IN en route to a third straight conference crown.More news: Accusers confront Bill Cosby, and they aren't holding back
The biggest difference between the Cavaliers teams that have been to the last three NBA Finals, sweeping their first-round matchups along the way, and the one facing the Pacers is as obvious as if the Humungotron no longer hung over center court; no Kyrie Irving. The King has a knack for taking things to another level during the postseason, and we'll see if he can do it once again this year. "I think we've been nine in the past, but I think it's going to be important to go 10 for us".
"You usually go nine (players deep)", Lue told reporters Thursday.
It's well known that James has a different gear when it comes to playoff basketball, and, even in his 15 season, he has shown no signs this year will be any different. The Pacers themselves are not great on the defensive end but with that being said, the Pacers can turn these games into shootouts and if they do they have a very good chance to pull the upset here.
"They need me to come out and be the aggressive Myles, like I've done during a couple stretches this season", he said. The only question mark is 3-point specialist Kyle Korver. The Cavs are a team that feature star power and a bench full of players that start on other teams, which suggests that the Pacers have to stay healthy during the series to stay competitive.