National Basketball Association playoffs 2017: LeBron James says Cavs need 'baby steps' to repeat

The Portland Trail Blazers, headed to a first-round playoff series against the Warriors, stunned the San Antonio Spurs 99-98 on Noah Vonleh's layup as time expired.

To open a roster spot, the team waived center Larry Sanders, who was signed after Andrew Bogut broke his leg but was barely used by coach Tyronn Lue and spent his time with the Cavs shuffling between Cleveland and the club's D-League affiliate in Canton.

The Cavaliers, locked in a duel with the Boston Celtics for the top seed in the East, nevertheless rested stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Miami.

As one of the best players in this era of the NBA, James has rarely allowed his teams to get soft in the first series of the postseason. Now the Playoffs are here and we have all 15 guys healthy. The team won at least 50 games and looked to be in command of the East for much of the season. "Win, and we still might go home". The Cavs' front office considers it one of Lue's greatest strengths as a coach. After all, there is a reason he has made it to the finals for the last six years in a row. But right now, we can't focus on them. He was injured Monday against the Miami Heat. Following that year, he signed a four-year, $44 million extension with Milwaukee. "We had some key injuries that set us back, but for the most part, it's pretty much the same".

Defending champs Cleveland Cavaliers will have a rough road to the finals, let alone make it through the playoffs, according to early predictions.

Overall, the Cavaliers should have no worries making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. "My fault. I think we underestimated the amount that really mattered". Toronto has gotten better. We just have to play Cavaliers basketball, which we're capable of doing, which we showed we can do. I'm more pissed off that we put ourselves in this position, because we certainly didn't need to. The Warriors who lost a 3-1 lead to the Cavs in the championship series previous year, have since added Kevin Durant and who have the league's best record by far - having lost only 15 games for a.815 winning percentage?

LeBron James will sit out the Cavs' last regular season game.

"We all did our job to get us into the playoffs", Butler said.

Even with that said, though, the Cavs would be unwise to think they can just flip a switch and start competing now that the playoffs are here.

NBA Notes: There will be final-night intrigue in the NBA.

Every year is different. Trust me, Jordan wouldn't have been sitting if his team needed a win, like theCavs needed one Monday night. We'll find out if the 2017 Cavs can have a similar turnaround, as the real games begin April 15, when Paul George and the Pacers arrive in Cleveland.

  • Julie Sanders