The total margin of victory for the Cavaliers was 16 points, and while the fourth-seeded Cavs are expected to eliminate IN again, even if it takes more than four games, the fifth-seeded Pacers are confident they can pull an upset.
But this is a new year, and as they've been proving all year, this Pacers team is different.
IN led by as many as 23 points and held the Cavs to the lowest points at home this term. For over/under bettors, 212.5 points is the total to contemplate. Check out our NBA Public Betting Page for up-to-date information. With Kyrie, they were once again pointed towards the Finals.
The last seven seasons have seen LeBron lead his team to the NBA Finals, whether it was with the Miami Heat or now back in Cleveland. Victor Oladipo led IN with 32 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals IN the win.
James' teams have won 21 straight games in the opening round (including a 4-0 sweep of the Pacers last April). He did miss two free throws in the closing seconds to seal the loss and play a big role in Philadelphia earning the third seed. It was simply a continuation of what Oladipo had done in the regular season - that is, grow into a true star and the leader of a playoff team. I wouldn't be surprise if he puts up two or three triple-doubles this series and has a 40-point game or two.
IN surprised the critics and won 48 games and lost 34, fifth in the East and matching the record of Oklahoma City, with Russell Westbrook, George and Carmelo Anthony.
Last meeting: The Cavs won 115-108 on January 26. The interesting thing is that all four meetings came before Cleveland made three trades to overhaul part of its roster. From February's trade deadline on, the Cavs were slightly better (108.9) and jumped 10 spots to 19th overall.More news: Rob Gronkowski will not attend start of offseason workouts
Although the Cavs have had more makeovers this year than any leading lady in Hollywood, the Pacers took three of four during the regular season. If ever there was a season Cleveland was ripe for the taking, it is this one. Here's the latest game preview with odds to win, start time, channel, and how to watch the Pacers vs. Cavs game live streaming online. "I was down 3-1 in the Finals". The Indiana Pacers have split their last eight road games. The only Portland win over New Orleans with Boogie came in the Blazers' home opener, when Anthony Davis played only five minutes before bumping knees with Maurice Harkless and leaving the game.
The Bucks will also have the best player in the series, forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, and I found previous year that teams with this advantage do win somewhat more often than their team stats would suggest.
LeBron has gone full supernova (Eastern Conference Player of the Month for March/April after averaging 29.6 PPG, 9.4 RPG and 9.5 APG in that stretch). The incomparable, 33-year old James has owned the conference for what seems like forever.
Cleveland isn't expected to waltz through the playoffs.
The Pacers won the season series, but it's hard to know how much to read into that with all the changes that the Cavaliers went through.
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