LeBron James scored 45 points and got some needed help in Game 7 to stay unbeaten in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 105-101 win over the Indiana Pacers, who pushed the game's best player to the limit.
James improved to 13-0 in the first round and kept Cleveland's strange season alive -- for the time being. It took everything James and the Cavs had to hold off the Pacers, who were swept by Cleveland a year ago and came in confident after a 34-point win in Game 6.
The Cavs will open the conference semifinals on Tuesday at top-seeded Toronto.
James played 43 minutes, leaving late in the third quarter and heading straight to the locker room to be treated for cramps. The 33-year-old was going to leave it all on the floor in what some Cleveland fans feared could have been his last game with the franchise.
Tristan Thompson made a rare start for the Cavs -- Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue used his 34th different starting lineup this season -- and added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Kevin Love made four 3-pointers, and George Hill returned after missing three games with back spasms to score 11 in 19 second-half minutes.
Victor Oladipo scored 30 and Darren Collison had 23 for the Pacers, who were still within four points in the final minute before a cutting James scored on a bullet pass from Kyle Korver with 30 seconds left.
Oladipo hit a 3 at the horn and was immediately embraced by James, who had never played a Game 7 in the first round and wasn't about to let Indiana end his run toward an eighth straight Finals.