CLEVELAND — 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. 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.
The Cavaliers went only 14 of 27 from the free-throw line for the game.
BUCKS 97, RAPTORS 83: Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points, rookie Malcolm Brogdon had 16 and Milwaukee beat Toronto in Game 1 of its first-round playoff series in Toronto.
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, Tony Snell had 11, and Khris Middleton finished with 10 points and nine assists.
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.
SPURS 111, GRIZZLIES 82: Kawhi Leonard matched his postseason high with 32 points and San Antonio rolled at home in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and Tony Parker added 18 to help San Antonio win its ninth straight over Memphis in the postseason.
Marc Gasol had 32 points, but only seven in the second half as the Grizzlies fell behind by as many as 36 points. Mike Conley was the only other Grizzlies player in double figures, finishing with 13.
Memphis was without defensive lynchpin Tony Allen. He’s out indefinitely because of a calf injury, and Leonard took advantage for his fourth career playoff game of 30-plus points.