The Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Sunday, sweeping the Indiana Pacers in Game 4 with a 106-102 victory. They did it thanks to LeBron James, whose laborious effort produced 33 points on 13-of-25 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists, four steals, and two blocks to deliver the Pacers their first four-game sweep in franchise history.
James’ performance against the Pacers was a microcosm of his sheer dominance in playoff first rounds.
The King is now 12-0 in his career in first-round series and won each of his last 21 first-round games, dating back to his four straight trips to the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat. All-time, James is 48-7 in the opening round of the postseason and has swept his opponent seven of his 12 trips to the playoffs. It’s a remarkable run capped off by an impressive dismissal of a Pacers team that rallied at the end for their playoff lives.
For their hard work, the Cavaliers earn some much-needed rest.
Cleveland is the first team finished with its first round series in the playoffs. The Cavaliers dispatched the Pacers quicker than many thought, and in doing so, they will have time to decompress and relax until they meet their second-round opponent.
James and company face off against the winner of the No. 3 Toronto Raptors-No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks series, and after the Raptors surrendered Game 1 on their home floor, that matchup seems destined for seven games.
The Bucks and Raptors are tied at two apiece with the series headed back to Toronto for Game 5. If each team holds down home court over the next two games, Game 7 wouldn’t be played until April 29.
That affords Cleveland more than a week’s rest time while the winner of the Bucks-Raptors series would have mere days to recover and game plan. So while the Cavaliers blew past the Pacers in four short games, they also did themselves a favor and cut down on mileage for their lengthy trip to three-peat as Eastern Conference Finals.
How’s that for efficiency?