The Cleveland Cavaliers will play host to the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff matchup on Sunday afternoon. The Cavs are the 4th seed in the East, while the Pacers come in as the 5th seed. Cleveland finished the regular season with a record of 50-32. Indiana finished the regular season with a record of 48-34.
The Pacers led the season series against their division foes, 3-1, with the last meeting being way back on January 26th. A lot has changed for both teams since that last matchup, including the Cavs completely overhauling their roster. Cleveland comes in with a ton of recent postseason success, while the Pacers are trying to avenge last years sweep at the hands of the Cavaliers. The Cleveland Cavaliers are -6.5 over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.
The Inconsistent Cleveland Cavaliers
Inconsistency has been the theme for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, minus LeBron James. At age 33, LeBron James is still performing at an extremely high level and is statistically having one of his best seasons ever. He leads the Cavs in both scoring (27.5 ppg) and assists (9.1 apg). LeBron should be a lock to make his 11th straight All-NBA 1st Team.
Kevin Love is the clear number 2 option for the Cavs. He nearly averaged a double-double with points and rebounds this season. Other than Love, the Cavs feature a large number of newly acquired players that are still trying to learn the system. Head Coach, Tyronn Lue will have to find the right combination of players to complement LeBron.
Indiana Pacers Look to Get Past the Cavaliers
Last year the Pacers were swept out of the first round by the Cavaliers. Since that time, both rosters have completely changed and the gap appears to have closed quite a bit. The Pacers have emerged thanks to the breakout season from Victor Oladipo. Oladipo is a two-way threat, averaging a team high 23.1 points per game while also averaging an NBA best 2.4 steals per game.
Head Coach Nate McMillan also has the luxury of having Lance Stephenson on his roster to try to stop LeBron. Stephenson and Oladipo will take turns guarding James, and will look to frustrate him with their length. Center Myles Turner has proven to be an effective rim protector this season finishing third in the NBA in blocks per game.
Pacers Steal Game 1 on the Road
The Pacers are a hungry team and would love to get off to a great start in this series. Indiana has size and length that can give LeBron James real problems on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, the Pacers are extremely fast-paced and explosive and should be able to score well against the Cavaliers poor defense.
LeBron James won’t let the Pacers come into Quicken Loans Arena and just have the game. Look for LeBron to have a triple-double in this game, but ultimately he won’t get enough help from his teammates. The Pacers will go into Cleveland and take Game 1 of this series from the Cavaliers. When you are ready to bet on this game – take the Indiana Pacers +6.5 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.