Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Game 1 Preview
Where: Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland, OH
When: Saturday, April 15, 2017, 3:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ABC
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Betting on the Indiana Pacers
Despite being one of the most disappointing teams in the East and possibly the most inconsistent team in the whole league, the Pacers are in the postseason. Like the Chicago Bulls, they simply pulled it together at the right time, as they won their last five contests (SU and ATS), all of which were must-win situations.
That stretch had the team winning by an average of 14.8 points (112.4 PPG to 97.6 PPG) and shooting at an efficient 51.2 percent, while also causing opponents to commit 16.6 turnovers.
The trio of Paul George, Myles Turner, and Jeff Teague each played a great role in those wins, but much of the spotlight really belongs to George, whose been raising his game as of late. The four-time All-Star netted 26.8 PPG in March and 32.8 PPG this April.
Although they lost three of their four meetings with the Cavaliers this season, they showed how competitive they can be in their meeting last April 2nd. In the 135-130, double OT loss, George poured in 43 points, including 19 in the two extra frames – he was also just one rebound and assist shy of a triple-double.
That good team performance, coupled with their current winning streak, could be a big help in their morale in facing the East’s powerhouse squad.
Betting on the Cleveland Cavaliers
Can the reeling Cavaliers put their foot back in the gas? That’s probably one of the biggest storylines heading into the playoffs. They looked really off in the second half of the season, as they only went 11-15 after the All-Star break and allowed opponents to score 109.8 PPG in that span.
The easy answer, when you go a little deep into it, is yes. Everyone’s game suddenly changes during the postseason, and the Cavs are still a talented bunch. Also, looking at how they performed against the Pacers this year – went 3-1 while averaging 118.3 points and 15.8 threes – the confidence should still be there.
Along with all the offensive firepower are the matchup problems. LeBron James, for one, put up 32.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 8.0 assists, and shot an impressive 59.7 percent from the floor in their season series. He may fall short in maintaining those big-time numbers, but don’t be surprised if he is able to.
James may continue to get shadowed by George, although everyone is obviously looking forward to his one-on-ones with longtime nemesis Lance Stephenson.
The point guard matchup, meanwhile, could also be in the Cavs’ favor. Kyrie Irving had no problems against Jeff Teague (then an Atlanta Hawk) in last year’s playoffs – “Uncle Drew” had his usual stats, while Teague, despite doing a decent job at distributing the ball, only scored 11.5 points on a woeful 34.2 percent shooting.
Cleveland is 13-7 in its last 20 games at home (9-11 ATS).
The Cavs (-8.5) draw first blood, but will fail to cover the spread.
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