Prime time: LeBron defying age, better than ever at 33

Prime time: LeBron defying age, better than ever at 33

Prime time: LeBron defying age, better than ever at 33

It's time for the NBA Playoffs and the Cleveland Cavaliers are primed for another run towards an appearance in the NBA Finals, but this year may be more challenging than ever before.

Following Wednesday's regular-season finale, James stamped this as-yet-unfinished season a personal triumph.

Let's see. They traded Kyrie Irving for a boatload of players and picks, including two-time All-Star Isaiah Thomas.

The Wine & Gold's reward is a First Round date with the only Eastern Conference team that holds a winning mark against them this season - the Indiana Pacers. We'll look at IN going up against Cleveland IN this piece IN a matchup which ended 3-1 IN favor of the Pacers IN the regular season.

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".

"They're fifth in the East and they've been playing well all season and you gotta really commend Nate for what he's done with that team". In the Cavs four games against Indiana, Oladipo put 23, 33, 19, and 25 on the Cavs.

According to SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh, the Cavaliers have a 50 percent chance to win the conference and an 11.1 percent chance to win it all.

Game one starts at 3:30 Cleveland.

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I feel like this discussion is had every season: is LeBron this year's MVP? The Cavaliers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Sunday games, 16-34-1 ATS in their last 51 home games and 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games overall.

For the first time in LeBron's second stint with the Cavaliers, the road to the NBA Finals actually looks perilous.

JR Smith chucked a bowl of soup at an assistant coach and rediscovered his shooting stroke when he met a therapy dog in Charlotte. Cleveland has been one of the NBA's worst defensive teams this season and ranks 29th in defensive efficiency.

James has faced the Pacers in the postseason four times during his career.

He averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game. They've relied on solid contributions throughout the board with Victor Oladipo providing the star power.

When the postseason tipped off previous year, the Pacers top five scorers were Paul George, Jeff Teague, Myles Turner, C.J. Miles and Thaddeus Young.

Cavaliers forward Kendrick Perkins, who was drafted in 2003 after James, is awed by his friend's commitment and dedication. While things are certainly different this time around, the Cavaliers are without superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, and IN is without a star of their own IN small forward Paul George. They've beaten the Hawks all 12 times they've faced them and have taken the last 12 against Detroit. These numbers speak for themselves, but so does LeBron and his ability to be his team's most valuable asset.

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