During one moment in particular, the Pacers guard crouched so laughingly low on defense - nearly mockingly - that James displayed a smirk in a clip that was made for the basketball Twittersphere.
The Cavs lost the opening playoff game 98-80 in Cleveland though they can still progress in the best of seven series.
The Pacers - who were swept by Cleveland in last year's first round - completely outplayed the three-time defending conference champions, whose turbulent regular season has carried over into the post-season. The Heat went on to win that series in five games. If you look back at the Cavaliers vs Pacers regular season game then IN holds a 3-1 advantage. The Pacers jumped all over Cleveland early and withstood the Cavaliers' attempts to rally.
Sabonis started three games against Cleveland this season and registered double-doubles in each of them. The Pacers shot 47.6 percent from the field and made half of their 14 first-half threes. IN was edged 44-42 on the boards and clanked 10 of their 25 three point attempts in the contest.
However, huge contributions from a number of players led to a solid season for Indiana. Victor Oladipo led IN with 32 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals IN the win.
Stephenson, perhaps best known for blowing in James' ear during the 2014 conference finals, baited James into a technical foul earlier this year. But with how solid the Pacers looked in Game 1, we'll likely get quite a few more games of Lance and LeBron.
It feels like the Cleveland Cavaliers have been stuck in the same news cycle for years now. As a result, the Cavaliers gave away home court advantage in the series, at least for the moment. "They hit us first and we didn't recover". This year will look quite a bit different, however, as Cleveland no longer has three of their top five scorers (Irving, Deron Williams, and Channing Frye) from that series and IN no longer has their top two (Paul George and Jeff Teague).
In two home matchups against the Pacers this season, the Cavs dropped the first meeting by 17 - with IN connecting on 62 percent of its three-point attempts before taking the series finale on January 26 - holding on for the seven-point win.
The Cavaliers are healthier than they've been all season. I've enjoyed every year competing for a championship.We're looking for another run this year.
The five-time All-Star finished the season with 31 double-doubles and led Cleveland at 9.3 rebounds per, shooting a career-best 88 percent from the stripe.
IN surprised the critics and won 48 games and lost 34, fifth in the East and matching the record of Oklahoma City, with Russell Westbrook, George and Carmelo Anthony. In four meetings with the Celts during the regular season, the Greek Freak averaged 33.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Cleveland's only other double-figure scorers came off the bench: J.R. Smith with 15 points and Larry Nance Jr. with 10. But can he help his Cavaliers push on to the finals once more? It has put the intensity around the franchise up to top gear with eyes toward reaching a fourth-straight NBA Finals.