2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference First Round Game #2
#7 Indiana Pacers at #2 Cleveland Cavaliers
Cavaliers Lead Series 1-0
Monday, April 17, 2017, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland, Ohio
Opening Line: Cleveland -7 1/2
Current Line: Cleveland -8 1/2
Opening Total: 212
Current Total: 209 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cavaliers -343 / Pacers +300
Current Money Line: Cavaliers -400 / Pacers +346
It wasn’t easy, but the Cleveland Cavaliers held home court in game one of their first round series against the Indiana Pacers with a 109-108 win Saturday. A close win is better than losing at home in game one which is what the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors did in their opening games. Game two between the Cavaliers and Pacers is Monday night in Cleveland.
Cleveland is the #2 seed in the East and won the Central Division by 9 games over the Milwaukee Bucks and Pacers. Indiana is the #7 seed and lost a tiebreaker to the Bucks for the #6 seed.
Cleveland was a 9 point favorite in game one and the total was 208.5. The Cavaliers led 34-29 at the end of the first and 66-59 at halftime. The Cavs expanded the lead to ten with 9:06 left in the fourth, but the Pacers slowly chipped away at the lead and took a 105-103 lead with 3:31 left. The Cavs pulled back in front 109-105 with 1:16 left. Indiana pulled to within 109-108 on a Paul George three pointer with 40 seconds left but neither team would score again. The Pacers had a chance to win the game on the last shot but C.J. Miles missed a 14 foot jumper after George passed it to him because he was double teamed. George said after the game Miles should have passed it back.
Indiana shot 40/81 from the field including 11/24 from three point range. The Pacers made 17/20 of their free throws. The Pacers had 50 rebounds, 21 assists, 13 turnovers, six steals and a block. Indiana had 10 fast break points and 46 points in the paint. Cleveland was 42/78 from the field, including 11/28 from 3 point range. The Cavaliers were 14/27 from the free throw line. Cleveland had 43 rebounds, 26 assists, 11 turnovers, seven steals and three blocks. The Cavs had 5 fast break points and 42 points in the paint.
LeBron James had 32 points, 13 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Kyrie Irving had 23 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Kevin Love had 17 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. George had 29 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Lance Stephenson had 16 points, 7 rebounds and three assists off the bench. Jeff Teague scored 15 points for the Pacers. Monte Ellis and Myles Turner each had 11 points.
Cleveland is coached by Tyronn Lue. The Cavaliers are 36-44-3 ATS and the total is 48-34-1 this season. Indiana is coached by Nate McMillan. The Pacers are 40-42-1 ATS and the total is 42-41 this season.
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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 an ankle 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. Robinson (calf) and Jefferson (ankle) are both questionable.
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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. He is probable with a knee injury. 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. Deron Williams is probable with a thumb injury and Kay Felder is questionable with a leg injury.
Indiana is 7-0 ATS overall, against Eastern Conference teams, and after scoring 100 points or more, 6-0 after an ATS win and on one day rest, 5-0 in first round games and against teams with winning records, 4-0 after allowing 100 points or more and in road games, 4-1 in Monday games and against Central Division teams, 9-4 after a straight up loss, and against teams with winning home records. The Pacers are 9-2-1 ATS against the Cavaliers recently, including 5-1 in Cleveland.
Cleveland is 18-38-1 ATS against NBA Central teams, 16-34-2 in Monday games, 3-7 against teams with losing road records, 3-8-1 after a straight up win, 1-4 at home, overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 1-5 on one day rest, and 0-4 against teams with winning records.
Teams with LeBron James have won 18 straight first round games, dating back to when he was with the Miami Heat. The Cavaliers need to quickly sort out their defensive issues for that trend to continue. Cleveland seemed to be in control of the game in the fourth quarter, but had to survive a Pacers surge. I like the Cavs to win another close game to take a 2-0 lead before the series switches to Indianapolis later in the week.