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.
20. September 2018
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|Lopes pays tribute to under-fire Lyon coach Genesio|
|Toulon´s Bastareaud handed five-week ban|
|Steelers WR Brown disciplined for missing meeting|
|Arteta refuses to make excuses for Manchester City´s Lyon loss|
|Allegri calls for VAR after Ronaldo´s contentious red card|
|Championship Review: Boro go second, Birmingham still winless|
|Lopetegui: Mariano took his chance|
|Juventus proved their quality after Ronaldo red card - Bonucci|
|Pogba ´class´ impresses Mourinho|
19. September 2018
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|Isco calls for Modric to win Ballon d´Or after Champions League win|
|Wawrinka into last eight in St Petersburg|
|Goal hero Pogba is one of the best in the world - Shaw|
|Sane SOS can´t salvage sorry City display|
|Hoffenheim will learn lessons from Shakhtar draw, insists Nagelsmann|
|Valencia 0 Juventus 2: Pjanic hits the spot after Ronaldo sees red|
|Viktoria Plzen 2 CSKA Moscow 2: Krmencik heroics undone by late show|
|Benfica 0 Bayern Munich 2: Sanches returns to haunt his former club|
|Young Boys 0 Manchester United 3: Pogba double inspires Red Devils|
|Manchester City 1 Lyon 2: Cornet and Fekir stun Champions League favourites at home|
|Real Madrid 3 Roma 0: Isco stunner sets up winning start for Champions League holders|
|Ronaldo sent off on Champions League debut for Juve and may miss United reunion|
|Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Hoffenheim 2: Maycon denies Nagelsmann´s side|
|Ajax 3 AEK Athens 0: Tagliafico at the double in opening win|
|Dalot makes debut, Martial starts for Manchester United|
|India avenge ICC Champions Trophy loss with big win over Pakistan|
|Ronaldo makes Champions League debut for Juve|
|Lopetegui picks Navas over Courtois for Champions League clash with Roma|
|Willian very happy under Sarri after Conte row|
|Sarri deals blow to Chelsea kids´ Europa League hopes|
|Mendy out for Manchester City as Aguero makes bench|
|Cech accepts performances key to securing Arsenal stay|
|Monchi rules out Spain return amid Barcelona rumours|
|Durham skittled for 61 and 66 on the same day|
|Kane isn´t a machine – Lamela defends misfiring Spurs star|
|Hazard left out of Chelsea squad for PAOK trip|
|Tiger feels close to ending drought after achieving Tour Championship goal|
|Leno in line for Arsenal chance in Europa League|
|Gazidis leaves Arsenal in good shape, insists Emery|
|Eagles bring back WR Matthews, place Wallace on IR|
|England include Stokes, Hales and uncapped seamer Stone in ODI squad|
|Suwon Bluewings 0 Jeonbuk Motors 3 (aet, 4-2 on penalties): Quarter-final comeback ends in spot-kick|
|Australia captain Paine ready to slog it out with Pakistan|
|Nadal pulls out of China Open & Shanghai Masters with knee injury|
|Ostapenko begins Korea Open defence with victory|
|Joshua v Povetkin: How Olympic super heavyweight champions have fared|
|Liverpool ´made a point´ with PSG victory - Gomez|
|Osaka wows Tokyo crowd on WTA return|
|Excited Povetkin arrives in England for Joshua showdown|
|Kovac patience with Sanches set to reap rewards|
|Kovac: Madrid strong without Ronaldo, Messi is the best|
|ATP suspends umpire Lahyani over Kyrgios ´pep talk´ at US Open|
|North and South Korea seek to co-host 2032 Olympics|
|Ampadu signs long-term Chelsea contract|
|Don´t blame Neymar, PSG players all guilty - Thiago Silva|
|Real Madrid seek to plug Ronaldo scoring gap – Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Brewers allow Cardinals to inch closer with loss to Reds|
|Manchester is still red – Depay ahead of Lyon´s clash with City|
|Orioles become first pro team to wear braille jerseys|
|Klopp hails ´brilliant´ Henderson|
|PSG attack lacked aggression, says Tuchel|
|Atletico Tucuman 0 Gremio 2: Libertadores holders draw first blood in QFs|
|Thomas plays down wrist worry|
|Rakitic wants more from Barcelona hat-trick hero Messi|
|My players aren´t s*** – Pochettino defends Spurs squad|
|Cubs reliever Morrow won´t return this season|
|Tebow expected to be back in Mets organisation next season|
|Inter can compete against anyone – Icardi revels in Champions League victory|
|Tuchel: PSG loss to Liverpool not logical or correct|