2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference First Round Game #3
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers at #7 Indiana Pacers
Cavaliers Lead Series 2-0
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, Indiana
Opening Line: Cleveland -2 1/2
Current Line: Cleveland -2 (-105)
Opening Total: 211 1/2
Current Total: 210 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cavaliers -145 / Pacers +125
Current Money Line: Cavaliers -132 / Pacers +112
The Cleveland Cavaliers won the first two games at home in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Indiana Pacers. Both games were close though as the series switches to Indianapolis for the next two games. Game Three is Thursday night.
Cleveland is 51-31 and won the Central Division. The Cavaliers fell behind the Boston Celtics for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Indiana is 42-40 and is the #7 seed. Cleveland is coached by Tyronn Lue. The Cavaliers are 36-45-3 ATS and the total is 49-34-1 this season. Indiana is coached by Nate McMillan. The Pacers are 41-42-1 ATS and the total is 43-41 this season.
The Cavaliers won game one 109-108 and game two Monday night 117-111, both in Cleveland. In game two, Cleveland was a 9 point favorite and the total was 210. The Cavaliers led 63-58 at halftime. Cleveland expanded the lead to 19 in the third quarter, and would lead 96-78 going into the fourth. The Pacers slowly chipped away at the lead and pulled to within 109-104 with 2:28 left. The Cavaliers would hold on for the six point win to take a 2-0 series lead.
Indiana was 43/84 from the field and 8/20 from three point range. The Pacers made 17 of 23 free throws. Indiana had 40 rebounds, 23 assists, 14 turnovers, 14 steals and 3 blocks. The Pacers had 14 fast break points and 46 points in the paint. Cleveland shot 42/76 from the field including 13/31 fro 3 point range. The Cavaliers made 20/23 free throws. Cleveland had 44 rebounds, 19 assists, 19 turnovers, 6 steals and 8 blocks. Cleveland had 2 fast break points and 42 points in the paint.
Kyrie Irving scored 37 points, with 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Kevin Love hat 27 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists. LeBron James had 25 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and 4 blocks. No other Cavalier had more than 9 points. Paul George had 32 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Jeff Teague had 23 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Thaddeus Young had 16 points, 6 steals and 3 rebounds. Lance Stephenson had 13 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
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Cleveland is outscoring teams 110-107 this season. Cleveland is #4 in scoring but #20 in points allowed. The Cavaliers are shooting 47% from the field including 38.4% from three point range. Cleveland is in the top five in both categories. The Cavaliers make 74.8% of their free throws and are #23 in that category. Opponents are shooting 45.8% from the field and 36.1% from three point range. Cleveland averages 43.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.2 per game. The Cavaliers average 22.7 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 6.6 steals and 4 blocks per game.
LeBron James averages 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. James is having another MVP quality season. Kyrie Irving averages 25.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Kevin Love averages 19 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He missed around 20 games with a knee injury and several games down the stretch for rest. Kyle Korver averages 10.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Channing Frye averages 9.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. J.R. Smith averages 8.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He is questionable with a hamstring injury. Richard Jefferson, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams, and Derrick Williams will also get minutes in the rotation. Deron Williams is probable with a thumb injury and Kay Felder is questionable with a leg injury.
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Indiana is being outscored 105.3-105.1 this season. The Pacers are shooting 46.5% from the field and 37.6% from three point range. Indiana is in the top ten in both categories. The Pacers make 81% of their free throws and are #2 in that category. Opponents are shooting 45.1% from the field and 35.5% from three point range. The Pacers are #13 or better in both categories. Indiana averages 42 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.3 per game. The Pacers average 22.5 assists, 13.3 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 5 blocks per game.
Forward Paul George averages 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Guard Jeff Teague averages 15.3 points, 4 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He is probable with a wrist injury. Forward Myles Turner averages 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds. 1.3 assists and 2.1 blocks per game. Forward Thaddeus Young averages 11 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Forward C.J. Miles averages 10.7 points and 3 rebounds per game. Forward Myles Turner averages 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds. 1.3 assists and 2.1 blocks per game. Monta Ellis, Al Jefferson, Rodney Stuckey, Lance Stephenson, Glenn Robinson III and Aaron Brooks will also get minutes in the rotation. Jefferson (ankle) is questionable.
Cleveland is 18-39-1 ATS against Central Division teams, 3-7 after allowing 100 points or more, 1-3-1 in Thursday games, 3-9-1 after a straight up win, 1-4 after scoring 100 points or more, 1-5 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, and 0-4 on two days rest. The over is 4-1 in this series recently. The road team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently.
Indiana is 8-0 ATS overall, against Eastern Conference teams, and after scoring 100 points or more, 7-0 after a cover, 6-0 in first round games and against teams with winning records, 5-0 after allowing 100 points or more, 4-0 against Central Division teams, 4-1 at home, 21-6 on two days rest, 10-4 after a straight up loss, and 4-14 in Thursday games. The Pacers are 10-2-1 ATS against the Cavaliers recently including 6-1-1 in Indianapolis.
Cleveland had double digit leads in both fourth quarters of this series, and had to hold on for close victories. The Cavaliers continue to struggle on defense when many thought they would “flip the switch” into playoff mode. The Indiana crowd will be frenzied and I like the Pacers to get back into the series with a win in another high scoring game.