2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference First Round Game #4
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers at #7 Indiana Pacers
Cavaliers Lead Series 3-0
Sunday, April 23, 2017, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, Indiana
Opening Line: Cleveland -3
Current Line: Cleveland -3 1/2
Opening Total: 212
Current Total: 212 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cavaliers -155 / Pacers +135
Current Money Line: Cavaliers -165 / Pacers +145
Teams with LeBron James on them have won an incredible 20 straight first round playoff games. If he and the Cleveland Cavaliers win #21 then they will sweep the Indiana Pacers and move on to the Conference Semifinals. Game Four is Sunday in Indianapolis.
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 37-45-3 ATS and the total is 50-34-1 this season. Indiana is coached by Nate McMillan. The Pacers are 41-43-1 ATS and the total is 44-41 this season.
Cleveland won game one 109-108 and game two 117-111, both in Cleveland. The series switched to Indianapolis for game three Thursday night. Cleveland was a 1.5 point favorite and the total was 209.5. The streak looked to be in serious jeopardy as the Pacers led by 26 in the first half and led 74-49 at halftime. Cleveland opened the third quarter on a 13-3 run to cut it to 15. The Pacers went back up by 20, but Cleveland sliced into the lead and trailed 91-84 at the end of the third. The Cavs tied it at 98 with just over six minutes left. Indiana took a 104-103 lead with just over five minutes to go, but Cleveland went on a 12-5 run and would not trail again. The Cavaliers would hold on for the 119-114 comeback victory to put the Pacers on the brink of elimination.
Cleveland shot 39/87 from the field including 21/44 from three point range. The Cavaliers made 20/30 free throws. Cleveland had 54 rebounds, 23 assists, 8 turnovers, 6 steals, and 8 blocks. The Cavaliers had 6 fast break points and 28 points in the paint. Indiana shot 38/95 from the field including 16/41 from three point range. The Pacers made 22/26 free throws. Indiana had 65 rebounds, 25 assists, 11 turnovers, 4 steals and 5 blocks. The Pacers had 4 fast break points and 30 points in the paint.
LeBron James had another masterful playoff performance with 41 points (including 28 in the second half), 13 rebounds, 12 assists, a steal and two blocks. Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith and Channing Frye each had 13 points for the Cavaliers. Kyle Korver scored 12 points. Paul George had 36 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists for the Pacers. Jeff Teague had 15 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds. Lance Stephenson had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Thaddeus Young had 11 points, 14 rebounds and 3 assists. Kevin Seraphin had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
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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. Richard Jefferson, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams, and Derrick Williams will also get minutes in the rotation. 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 19-39-1 ATS against Central Division teams, 4-9-1 in Sunday games and after a win, 2-5 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 1-4-1 after a cover, and 1-4 on two days rest. The last four games in this series have gone under the total and the under is 4-1 in Indianapolis between the teams. The road team is 4-0 ATS in this series.
Indiana is 8-1 ATS overall, against Eastern Conference teams, and after scoring 100 points or more, 6-1 in first round games and against teams with winning records, 5-1 after allowing 100 points or more, 4-1 against Central Division teams, 21-7 on two days rest, and 23-9-1 in Sunday games. Indiana is 10-3-1 ATS against Cleveland recently including 6-2-1 in Indianapolis.
While Russell Westbrook and James Harden have had incredible seasons this year, LeBron James showed Thursday night why he is still the best player in the league. The defense is still struggling for the Cavaliers, but I think they close it out in game four. Paul George and the Pacers won’t make it easy though, and I like them to keep it close in another high scoring game.