LeBron, Cavs escape with 109-108 win over Pacers in Game 1

But what did it feel like? "It's just going all out every possession, every play".

"I think through everything that went on with our team, we're in a position where we can do something special", James said.

While the Warriors remain the championship favorites, the Celtics could be the most likely team to upset Cleveland and reach the NBA Finals out of the East. Boston took advantage of the Cavaliers struggles down the stretch in order to clinch the best record in the East and home court advantage through the Eastern Conference Finals.

In the end, it wasn't, at least not in terms of wins. He played two seasons under Coach Grant and one under Coach Shaka Smart before leaving for the National Basketball Association after his junior year.

Ah yes, the next step.

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. The oddity is that such a rematch would take place in the second round this year, not the conference final, and you could argue that might give the Raptors a better chance to get around LeBron James and his buddies.

Lance, Glenn (when healthy), and Aaron Brooks will likely carry the second unit.

"This (Cleveland) team being very locked in is a very tough team to beat", Cleveland power forward Kevin Love said. The Pacers defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 104-86, to enter into the postseason in a showdown against the Cavaliers.

Miles agreed and cited the expiring game clock as the primary reason why he was forced to hoist the Pacers' final look. The two have proven to be all-stars in the regular season but haven't had much success in the playoffs. Golden State is listed at -150 to win the National Basketball Association title while Cleveland is right behind them at +350 odds. The biggest thing is being in playoff shape. And maybe no closer to beating Cleveland.

He rejoined the Pacers on March 30 and was pivotal in them going 5-1 to make the playoffs. In other words, they have yet to show all their cards. He's at 35.6 percent on the year after hitting 40 percent last year and was 6-27 from three over the final four games. The Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo, but who else is a weapon? Perhaps he can play the 4 at times to space the floor.

Toronto will defend him in multiple ways, but you sure get the feeling that when it comes down to it, it will fall to the hard-nosed Tucker to shut down Antetokounmpo. While the Pacers have been hot, they don't have the talent to compete with the Cavs.

They can't let that happen. On the flip side, Deron Williams aggravated his left thumb, which had been bothering him for some time, and had to check out of the game to have it retaped in the first half. His defense, which was essential last year, has been unaware and undisciplined for most of this year. "It's a totally different season, totally different team".

Lue told his team - which has eight of its top 11 rotation players inked to multiyear deals past this season - that winning should be the only thing that matters.

  • Julie Sanders