The Cleveland Cavaliers swept through the first round of the playoffs for the third straight postseason with a 106-102 win over Indiana on Sunday.
The defending NBA champions will now get at least six days of rest while they wait for the winner of the Milwaukee/Toronto series which is currently tied at 2 games a piece. Game One of the second round will start at the earliest on Sunday.
Lebron James once again was phenomenal with 33 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. It’s Lebron’s 21st consecutive win in the first round of the playoffs, setting a new NBA record.
Kyrie Irving added 28 points including 16 in the third quarter and Deron Williams provided 14 points off the bench.
Tristan Thompson had 11 rebounds (7 offensive) and Kevin Love had 16 rebounds as Cleveland won the battle with 48 to Indiana’s 42.
Cleveland struggled shooting the ball with just 41% to Indiana’s 47%. Both teams struggled shooting the three pointer with Indiana shooting 31% and the Cavs shooting 29%.
The free throw shooting was the advantage for the Cavs as they shot 86% and shot ten more attempts than Indiana who struggled at 59% from the line.
Lance Stephenson led the way for Indiana with 22 points. Paul George in what could be his last game in a Pacers uniform had 15 points along with 7 rebounds, 6 assists and four steals. Jeff Teague added 15 points and 10 assists and big man Myles Turner had 20 points and 9 rebounds.
For Teague, it’s now the third straight season the team he’s been on has been knocked out of the postseason via a sweep by Cleveland. He was with the Atlanta Hawks the last two seasons when they were swept by Cleveland in the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals and the 2016 East Semi-Finals.
For the Cavs, they’ll get plenty of rest before their next opponent comes in the Eastern Conference . It gives Lebron, Kyrie and the crew a chance to give any nagging injuries time to heal. Both Toronto and Milwaukee won’t be an easy cake walk for Cleveland as they’ll try to get to their third straight Eastern Conference Finals.
As for the Pacers, it’ll be an interesting offseason for the franchise. All-Star forward Paul George was the subject of trade rumors during the season leading up to the deadline. He’s been rumored to wanting to go to Los Angeles, particularly the Lakers whether in a trade or when he becomes a free agent.
If he leaves, the Pacers and team president Larry Bird will obviously look to rebuild the roster although they have some solid pieces in Myles Turner and Jeff Teague to build around but they won’t be a threat in the East without George.