LeBron unfazed by struggles, believes Cavaliers can repeat

Game 1 between the Cavaliers and the Pacers will be at 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 15.

Note: This interview his been edited for length and clarity. The Raptors also should benefit from the trade deadline acquisitions of P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka, and they're playoff-tested after last year's run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are the eight first-round series of the 2017 NBA Playoffs power ranked in terms of watchability and overall intrigue. The number of teams that were involved. Greg Monroe is still an awkward fit, but the team has been incredibly encouraged by the play of rookie Malcolm Brogdon as well as the recent development of Thon Maker.

We had to go through over six months of games and "planned rest" to get here, but we are finally here. I just think it's been a great year of competition. Paul George should help IN take a game at home, but the Cavs will have no problem moving on. "We have a good club going into the postseason". And then the deals that were done, like Toronto picking up Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, [Cleveland General Manager] David Griffin finding guys.

It's been a year of a lot going on in the National Basketball Association. "What do you think?" I'm not high on the Pacers and they'll probably lose this series rather quickly.

Are you switching? Are you double-teaming? "If you don't have scrutiny, if you don't have pressure, if you don't have spotlight, you're not doing something right". Are you hugging up to them? Fourteen teams will have to sit at home and get ready for the ping pong balls to do their thing. No one cares. So I'm looking forward to it. Some of the awards that can give a player as much as $70 million more include the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and the three All-NBA teams. Raptors have had 14 games since all-star break where they've committed more than 12 turnovers. They can't take them lightly. Cleveland swept IN five times though they were taken to a seventh game on two different occasions. Can they do that and ramp it up? They will hopefully be pretty good. Like James before him, Leonard lead his team the #2 seed in his respective conference, leading the Spurs to a 61-21 record in the West. Leonard improved in a lot of aspects this season, and with Tim Duncan out of the picture, Leonard has emerged as the face of the franchise down in San Antonio.

GREENE: No, I think it's going to be a surprise team. And can the Cleveland Cavaliers get back to the NBA Finals? The Bulls' point guard, Rajon Rondo, is laboring with a sprained wrist, but backup Jerian Grant has been "terrific", in the opinion of coach Fred Hoiberg, as the replacement down the stretch of the season.

The Cavs and the Warriors have played each other in the last two Finals. Brad Stevens is a Coach of the Year candidate and it's easy to see why. The Eastern Conference appears under-manned, and oddly with the Cleveland Cavaliers, under-inspired. It was the second time in as many games there was an incident.

On the other side, the Clippers just struggle with Golden State. "It's just time to get it rolling".

Season series: Rockets 3-1. What more could you ask for?

I could see Atlanta upsetting Washington. Portland may have a shortage in talent outside of its guards, but this series will see no shortage of offense.

Washington showed during the year with that great run they had, that they're certainly capable.

"I wanted to smile, but I knew we had a long way to go in the game", Casey said. However, the Wizards have proved to be one of the top teams in the East, rivaling Toronto for the best backcourt in the conference with John Wall and Bradley Beal. He was making shots, making 3-pointers and it was a huge plus for the bench they had. Why do I keep watching sports, knowing that I'm basically signing up for a lifetime of heartbreaking moments and depressing losses that will ruin many of my days? That was the big body to replace Nene [who left for Houston last offseason]. Andre Iguodala's back turned into, like, a 72-year-old back. Washington's a risky team.

‎"One thing that I pride myself on is leaving it all out there on the floor each and every night", Green said.

THOMPSON: If they don't win, man, I mean, that would be even worse of a choke job.

Additionally, Johnson made just one All-NBA appearance, as part of the third team in 2009-10. With Kevin Durant now on the roster to go along with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Golden State has the most talented roster in the National Basketball Association. Gasol, Conley, and Randolph are still there and Vince Carter has defeated "father time" this year but they are going up against a machine.

  • Loretta Pittman