Pacers end LeBron's NBA play-offs streak

LeBron James figured he had experienced everything in 12 NBA play-offs campaigns.

Indiana's Victor Oladipo was the standout performer in their NBA play-off win at Cleveland.

Indiana's Victor Oladipo was the standout performer in their NBA play-off win at Cleveland.

Turns out, there was something new.

Victor Oladipo scored 32 points as the Indiana Pacers outplayed the Cleveland Cavliers from the start while pulling off a stunning 98-80 victory in their NBA play-offs eastern conference series opener.

It also was the first playoff-opening loss for James, who came in 12-0 and didn't realise he had been perfect starting the post-season.

"Is it?" James said. "I've never lost a game in the first round before in my career?

But while he knows the narrative before Wednesday's game two will be on the struggles of Cleveland's play-off newcomers, James isn't worried.

"I'm down 0-1 in the first round," he said.

"I was down 3-1 in the Finals.

"So, I'm the last guy to ask about how you're going to feel the next couple days."

The Pacers are feeling confident after beating the Cavs for the fourth time this season.

"We believe that we can win," Oladipo said.

The Pacers completely outplayed the three-time defending conference champions, whose turbulent regular season has carried over into the playoffs.

James scored 24 with 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his 20th career triple-double in the post-season.

But James got little help as Cleveland's four other starters - Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Rodney Hood and George Hill - combined for 25 points.

"They were more aggressive," James said.

"They just played inspired basketball ... "

This is all new to James, who had won 21 consecutive first-round games.

The 33-year-old is trying to get to his eighth straight Finals.

Meanwhile, James Harden scored 44 points and powered a big fourth-quarter run which gave the Houston Rockets a 104-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Minnesota had a one-point lead with about seven minutes left when Houston used a 9-0 run, with the last seven points from Harden, to make it 94-86 with about four minutes to go.

After Jeff Teague ended Minnesota's scoring drought Harden took centre stage again to make it 11 straight points for Houston.

The top-seeded Rockets had their hands full with the Timberwolves but managed to keep their All-Star big man in check, limiting him to just eight points.

Rockets centre Clint Capela had 24 points and 12 rebounds while Andre Wiggins led five Timberwolves players in double figure with 18 points.

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