A first opening-round playoff loss since 2012 stirred no panic for LeBron James, who believes the Cleveland Cavaliers' 98-80 defeat to the Indiana Pacers will be a learning experience for his less seasoned team-mates.
James scored 24 points in 44 minutes and registered a triple-double for the Cavs on Sunday, but could not prevent them from falling 1-0 behind in the best-of-seven series as the Pacers rolled to an impressive road victory behind 32 points from Victor Oladipo.
But James saw little reason to lose his calm following the loss, pointing to the 3-1 deficit the Cavs faced in the 2016 NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors as a considerably more dire situation that they ultimately turned around.
James said: "I've always stayed even-keeled with the postseason. I mean, I'm down 0-1 in the first round. 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."
However, James does not have the support of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, now with the Boston Celtics, with this Cavs team markedly different from the one that stunned the Warriors in the second of their three successive Finals meetings.
Jordan Clarkson made his playoff debut while Rodney Hood started in the postseason for the first time in his career.
But James believes the defeat can be a positive for those players less familiar with the playoffs as the Cavs aim to wrest the title back from the Warriors.
"Experience is the best teacher, and they got it today," James said. "I think everybody is going to be a lot more calm and a lot more precise in what we want to do, too. So it's definitely a feel-out game."
Asked why the Cavs suffered a reverse that ended his 21-game winning streak in the first round, James replied: "I think the intensity. How much different a regular-season game is compared to a postseason game. It happens that fast. You always hear people say in the regular season, sometimes it's a 'playoff-type atmosphere'. Eh, you can't simulate that. You can't simulate that speed. You can't simulate what's going on out there.
"So today was definitely a good test for some of our younger guys, and like I said, I think they'll be a lot better, especially in game two. And not just them. Even the older guys as well.
"Some of the guys even with experience, including myself, I can be a lot better as well. So we take it as everybody has to dig deep and not lose two of them on our home floor."
Cleveland host Indiana again in game two on Wednesday.
18. Juli 2018
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|Schwartzman stumbles but Spanish duo reach last eight at Swedish Open|
|Top seeds progress in Bucharest as Larsson conquers Kung|
|Perez promises ´incredible´ signings at Real Madrid|
|Liverpool need a top goalkeeper - Souness|
|It was just an absolute car crash - Root regrets bat-drop celebration|
|Mourinho´s pre-season fears mount with Sanchez sidelined|
|Alisson thanks Roma fans ahead of rumoured Liverpool switch|
|Pogba must understand his World Cup heroics, says Mourinho|
|Odriozola excited by Lopetegui reunion at Real Madrid|
|Revis announces retirement from NFL after 11 seasons|
|The Open 2018 diary: Rahm´s saving Grace, Rory´s going grey|
|Kawhi Leonard traded to Raptors as DeMar DeRozan heads to Spurs|
|Cantona, Rosberg and other surprise retirements after Warburton hangs up his boots|
|No doubting Thomas as he climbs into yellow with stage win|
|Liverpool´s Oxlade-Chamberlain to miss ´vast majority´ of 2018-19|
|Open Championship by far the greatest - Player|
|Sarri wants new central midfielder and hints at Chelsea stay for Cahill|
|Nantes sign former Manchester United full-back Fabio|
|Marcelino rewarded with one-year Valencia extension|
|Warburton retires: Bale leads social media tributes to Welsh great|
|Mistakes do not define me, says Chelsea boss Sarri|
|Saints and Tigers to honour Horne with Twickenham clash|
|I want to keep Hazard, says Sarri|
|Europe must stop American juggernaut at Carnoustie|
|Joshua planning for heavyweight ´legacy´ – starting with Povetkin|
|Warburton retires: Wales and Lions star´s career in numbers|
|Matching ´ridiculous´ Tiger not on McIlroy´s radar|
|Spain sent me World Cup SOS, claims Benitez|
|Ozil, Gundogan critics should ´shut up´ - Klopp|
|McIlroy plans to play carefree at Carnoustie|
|Pakistan thrash Zimbabwe to secure series win|
|Warburton retires: Gatland salutes Wales and Lions great|
|Sturridge determined to stay at Liverpool|
|Mbappe is an alien – Varane|
|Warburton retires from rugby|
|India to assess Bhuvneshwar as Bumrah makes Test squad|
|Injured Craddock passes $100,000 in donations at Tour de France|
|WATCH: Perez taunts team-mate after audacious training goal|
|Alison Becker tweets ´I´m joining Liverpool´... but all is not as it seems|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton chasing down Schumacher - German GP in numbers|
|Notorious Carnoustie holds fond memories for legendary Watson|
|Rooney refused to be ´dead weight´ at Everton|
|The Open 2018: Molinari, Rahm and the in-form contenders at Carnoustie|
|Marsh interested in Australia leadership roles|
|United can challenge City for Premier League title, says Rooney|
|MLB All-Star 2018: Seven things you missed at Midsummer Classic|
|American League win home run-filled MLB All-Star game|
|Dragons lure Sims from Broncos|
|Cassano: Ronaldo like Nadal, Messi like Federer|
|Lakers´ Ball undergoes successful knee surgery|
|´We kill them, Messi or no Messi´ - Pogba´s pre-Argentina World Cup speech revealed|
|Cardinals suspend GM Keim for five weeks after DUI|
|Dalic: I can coach Brazil or Barca but Croatia my favourite|
|Warriors coach Kerr extends contract|
|I´m ready to bust him up - Miller calls out Joshua after New York confrontation|
|CAF Champions League Review: ES Tunis and TP Mazembe set the pace|
|Mixed day for seeds in Newport as Muller progresses|
|Rams sign Cooks to five-year extension|
|Cowboys’ Randy Gregory reinstated by NFL|
|Verdasco survives Swedish Open scare as Paire is picked off in Umag|
17. Juli 2018
|US Open announces record prize fund for 2018|
|Stosur wins battle of former grand slam champions in Gstaad|
|Emery is Arsenal´s best signing, says Pires|
|Brewster commits to Liverpool with long-term deal|
|Panama boss Gomez steps down after World Cup|
|No Chelsea agreement for Golovin, claims CSKA president|
|Root looks right at home as England ease to series victory|
|Brighton sign Mali midfielder Bissouma from Lille|
|Kaka backs Brazil boss Tite after ´excellent´ World Cup|