LeBron James on playoffs: 'Go out and try to dominate'

LeBron: Playoffs are like 'The Hunger Games' (1:18)

LeBron James explains what it means to make the playoffs 13 straight years and previews Cleveland's series against the Pacers. (1:18)

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- For as decorated a career as LeBron James has enjoyed, he has been at his absolute best in one particular realm: the first round of the NBA playoffs.

James' teams are 48-7 in the first round and have won 21 games in a row coming into the Cleveland Cavaliers' series opener against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC). James, who made his postseason debut in 2006, has never lost a first-round series (12-0) or Game 1 of an opening series.

Does James feel any added responsibility at the start of the playoffs this spring, with a roster that includes several rotation players -- Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood -- with little to no postseason experience?

"My responsibility has been the same for quite a while now: Go out and try to dominate," James said after practice Saturday.

What hasn't been the same is the regular season James just had. He enters the playoffs having played in all 82 games for the first time in his career.

The 33-year-old forward insists that his regular-season workload did not affect how prepared he is as he attempts to make it to an eighth straight NBA Finals.

"Mentally and physically, I'm where I should be right now," James said. "I'm not comparing it to last year. I'm not comparing it to previous years. I don't compare it to next year. Right now, how I feel, I feel where I need to be and I'm healthy going into the postseason -- as healthy as you can be going into the postseason. So we'll see what happens."

James and the Cavs swept the Pacers out of the first round last season, but that series featured Kyrie Irving playing for Cleveland and Paul George playing for Indiana, just to name a couple of the changes that have occurred since then. James credited this year's Pacers team for being "more well-balanced" with All-Star guard Victor Oladipo leading the charge, but he didn't let that praise turn into paranoia.

"I mean, I don't have any concerns," James said. "Listen, it's going to be a very good matchup. It's 4-5 for a reason. Both teams played good ball at times throughout the regular season. Obviously their season, from the outside looking in, was more productive than ours because of what they went through in the offseason. But we went through a lot in the offseason as well. It's a good matchup, and we look forward to the challenge."

Game 1 will mark the first time the Cavs will have a completely healthy roster since Cleveland overhauled its franchise at the trade deadline, dealing six players and welcoming four new players in their place.

"That's great for Coach [Tyronn] Lue and the coaching staff that we have everybody available for the first time this season," James said. "I think that's pretty cool, and it's strange at the same time."

James pointed out the potential downside to having too many options.

"We have lineups we can go to that we haven't been able to go to all year," he said. "But with that it also creates some unfamiliarity on the floor, too. You're playing with lineups sometimes you haven't played with or had a lot of minutes with. We'll see how it benefits us."

The Cavs and Golden State Warriors met in the Finals the past three years, but a fourth matchup is no certainty. Cleveland is the No. 4 seed in the East and no longer has Irving. The Warriors are the No. 2 seed in the West and missing Stephen Curry to start the postseason because of a knee injury.

"Who is the team to beat? Everybody's the team to beat," James said. "Golden State is the defending champions, so everybody's trying to see if they can be a new crowned champion. Golden State is trying to defend that. I don't know who's the team to beat. There's 16 teams, there's going to be some great series going on and everybody is trying to win."

James -- who likened the playoffs to his taste of March Madness, seeing as he skipped college to go straight to the NBA -- said he plans to have a bit of a survive-and-advance message when he addresses the team prior to Game 1.

"Let's just put ourselves in a position to try to be successful every night and let's try to continue to win," James said. "It's like 'The Hunger Games' -- let's see if we can keep going. Don't want to hear that loud noise in the sky. You know what that means."