Indiana Setting the Pace on Sunday Night Against Cavs

Victor Oladipo

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, April 21, 2018 4:10 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 21, 2018 4:10 PM UTC

The Cavaliers are down 2-1 in the series to the Pacers and will have to overcome their surprising playoff jitters if they are to advance. Let’s see if Cleveland can even the series as we peruse the NBA odds and break this one down.

Cavaliers (51-34 SU, 32-51-2 ATS) vs Pacers (50-35, 49-35-1 ATS)

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Free NBA Pick: Pacers -1Best Line Offered: at Betmania
  • Indiana is 13-3 ATS in Sunday games this season.
  • Indiana is 27-18 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
  • Indiana is versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points/game.
  • Cleveland is 15-21 ATS revenging a loss vs. opponent this season.
  • Cleveland is 10-15 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season.
  • Cleveland is 4-13 ATS versus Indiana over the last three seasons.

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Last night, Indianapolis belonged to Bojan Bogdanovic.

Game 3 recap, highlights, and photos: https://t.co/CRDYWLG4dm pic.twitter.com/gdi2NCNYKF

— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 21, 2018
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Game Analysis

Just when you think Cleveland is ready to be Cleveland again, they remind you of their schizophrenic tendencies this season. No, the Cavs did not get blown out on Friday night as they did in Game 1 (98-80) but rather frittered away a 17 point first-half lead after being held to just 12 points in the third quarter and a total of only 33 points in the second-half. The resilient Pacers claimed a 92-90 win to take a 2-1 series lead over the defending three-time Eastern Conference champs despite the fact that the odds were clearly stacked against them as the Cavs were 39-0 when leading after the third quarter. Make that 39-1 after Friday night.

LeBron James did his part for the Cavaliers in the losing effort with 28 points and 12 rebounds. He became only the second player in league history to garner 100 double-doubles in the postseason, joining the legendary Michael Jordan in that category. King James now has a dozen consecutive games with double-doubles against the Pacers. Kevin Love had 19 and George Hill ended the game with 13 points on the evening to round out the scoring for Cleveland.

Indiana’s small forward Bojan Bogdanovic led his team with 30 points and was a marksman from beyond the arc, knocking in 7-of-9 three-pointers after having gone just 2-of-9 in the first two games of the series. Victor Oladipo contributed 18 points, six boards, seven assists, and three steals for the Pacers but has been misfiring from downtown, connecting on only 1-of-8 in Friday’s contest and 2-of-8 in the team’s 100-97 Game 2 setback. Thaddeus Young joined Bogdanovic and Oladipo as the only other Pacer in double-figures.

It’s difficult to wrap one’s mind around the Cavaliers this season. Perhaps the specter of LeBron’s presence in any game reflexively leads us to believe that somehow, someway, the Cavaliers will win. But Cleveland has gone through many roster changes and the absence of another superstar like Kyrie Irving has left LeBron doing his thing alone and without the support of his teammates to shoulder some of the load. The Pacers are 6-1 against the number and 5-2 straight up versus Cleveland this season. Clearly, the Pacers are not rattled by the prospect of facing LeBron and this edition of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The question we must ask ourselves is which Indiana team will show up on Sunday? The one that failed dismally to score and contain Cleveland in the first half of Game 3 or the one that rallied from 17 points down in the second half and held on for a narrow 92-90 victory? A quick check of the NBA odds board tells us that virtually all of the major online sportsbooks are dealing the Pacers as a one-point favorite which feels right when considering that Cleveland will be in desperation mode to even the series.

However, as previously noted, Indiana has had tremendous success against Cleveland and those who have backed the Pacers versus the Cavs this season in their NBA picks have cashed on six of seven occasions. Indiana is far more team-oriented as opposed to a Cleveland squad missing that intangible that pundits refer to as chemistry. I am leaning towards the Pacers in this contest based on the historical trends above and the fact that Indiana’s defense has had success pressuring the Cleveland offense. Aside from Kevin Love, the rest of the Cavaliers are resting so heavily on LeBron that it has become a one-dimensional offense. I like Indiana’s chances to get a huge win at home and take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Go Pacers!

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