Cavaliers edge Pacers as NBA playoffs begin
LeBron James scored 32 points and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, looking to flip the switch after a shaky regular season, began the NBA playoffs by escaping with a 109-108 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday in Game 1.
Playing in his 200th playoff game, James added 13 assists and six rebounds while winning his 18th consecutive first-round game.
However, it was anything but easy as the Cavs had to withstand a strong comeback by the Pacers, who could have stolen the opener but C.J. Miles missed a 14-foot jumper in the final second.
Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love had 17 for Cleveland, which has won 12 straight playoff games at home.
Paul George scored 29 points and Lance Stephenson had 16 for the seventh-seeded Pacers, who will try to even the series on Monday night.
George had the ball in his hands on the final possession, but the Cavs double-teamed him, forcing him to pass to Miles, who has always shot well against his former team. His shot was on line, but short and the Cavs survived a disastrous final few minutes.
Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points and rookie Malcolm Brogdon had 16 as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors 97-83 in Game 1 of the first-round series.
Playing in his second career playoff series, Antetekounmpo made 13 of 18 shots, and added eight rebounds and three assists. Greg Monroe added 14 points.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 27 points, and Serge Ibaka had 19 points and 14 rebounds. The Raptors have lost the opening game in eight consecutive playoff series.
Toronto's Kyle Lowry made only two of 11 field-goal attempts, missing all six 3-point efforts, and finished with four points. Jonas Valanciunas had nine points and nine rebounds.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Toronto.
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