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LeBron James scores 33 as Cavaliers sweep Pacers



(The Sports Xchange) - When the Cleveland Cavaliers limped into the NBA playoffs with a four-game losing streak to finish the regular season, some wondered if the reigning champions were vulnerable.

LeBron James, at least for one series, removed all doubts.

James scored 33 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:08 remaining, and Cleveland defeated the Indiana Pacers 106-102 on Sunday afternoon, completing a four-game sweep in the opening-round series.

"Once again, we just had to weather the storm," said James, who made 13 of 25 field-goal attempts and added 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks. "We beat a very good team. We had to make plays at the end, and we did."

Cleveland's four victories came by an average of four points, tying the smallest average margin of victory in a four-game series sweep, also set in the 1975 NBA Finals when the Golden State Warriors defeated the then-Washington Bullets.

10 PHOTOS
LeBron James leads Cavs to big win
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LeBron James leads Cavs to big win
Apr 23, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) is guarded by Indiana Pacers guard Jeff Teague (44) in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cleveland defeats Indiana 106-102. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) battles for a rebound against Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (21) and guard Jeff Teague (44) in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cleveland defeats Indiana 106-102. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; After the game Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (21) hugs Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and Pacers forward Paul George (13) hugs Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cleveland defeats Indiana 106-102. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 20, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) walks off the court to the locker room after winning against the Indiana Pacers in game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cleveland defeats Indiana 119-114. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) is guarded by Indiana Pacers guard Jeff Teague (44) in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) is guarded by Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 20, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) in game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cleveland defeats Indiana 119-114. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 20, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) is guarded by Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) in game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers speaks during the post-game press conference after the game against the Indiana Pacers during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2017 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Cavaliers also finished -- regular season and playoffs -- 7-1 against Indiana, winning the last seven in a row, although this one certainly wasn't easy.

"Offensively, we were not that good," Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. "We didn't play with the same spunk and pace. But defensively, I thought we were really good. We did a great job on Paul George. We kept him to 15 points."

Indiana, which never had been swept in a best-of-seven series, took a 102-100 lead on a Thaddeus Young tip-in with 1:31 to play, but the Cavaliers scored the game's final six points to advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference.

For James, it was his 21st consecutive first-round playoff game victory, breaking Magic Johnson's record of 20 set in the mid-1980s.

"It's really frustrating to continue losing to the same team or the same person (James)," George said.

"It's what I work hard for in the summers to try to help lead a team along and ultimately, it's who I am always going to see and face. But again, we just came up short and didn't do enough."

When asked if he hopes to remain with the Pacers, George, whose future has been discussed frequently in Indiana, said: "I ain't even at that point yet. Next question."

(Editing by Andrew Both)

PHOTOS: LeBron James through the years

30 PHOTOS
LeBron James through the years
See Gallery
LeBron James through the years
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against Alan Anderson #6 of the Brooklyn Nets during their game at Barclays Center on December 8, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in action against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on December 8, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Cavaliers defeated the Nets 110-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 12: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers makes a shot over Luke Babbitt #8 of the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on December 12, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 21: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at Quicken Loans Arena on December 21, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on December 23, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Kevin Love #0 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the first half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena on December 23, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 and Mike Miller #18 of the Cleveland Cavaliers high-five during a game against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena on December 25, 2014 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat converse during a game at the American Airlines Arena on December 25, 2014 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands on the court against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena on December 25, 2014 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic's Tobias Harris, right, defends against the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 26, 2014. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 26: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball against the Orlando Magic during the game on December 26, 2014 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 28: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers defends against the Detroit Pistons during the game on December 28, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 28: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game against the Detroit Pistons on December 28, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes to the basket against the New Orleans Pelicans on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes for the dunk against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks to pass during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives down the court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles to the basket against Eric Gordon #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against Eric Gordon #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers defends the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers laughs during an interview after the winning game against the New Orleans Pelicans on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
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