- LeBron James and co. look to wrap things up in Indiana
- Victor Oladipo is trying to regain his All-Star form before it’s too late
- Can another Cavalier crack 20 points in a game this series?
The Cleveland Cavaliers are one game away from the second round of the NBA playoffs, and they’ll get their first chance at advancing Friday night when they travel to Indiana for Game 6 of their series with the Pacers.
The Cavaliers’ pivotal Game 5 win to go up 3-2 can be summed up in three words: LeBron Freaking James.
James has now averaged 45 points a game in his last two home games, and the Cavaliers have needed every one of them to fight off this feisty Pacers squad. For the series, the King is averaging 34.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 8.0 assists, while shooting 55% from the field in close to 43 minutes a game. For all we know, he might also be cooking the team meals, driving the bus to the hotel, and flying the team plane.
Game 5 marked the fifth straight game that no other Cavalier topped 20 points scoring.
Game 5 marked the fifth straight game that no other Cavalier topped 20 points scoring. Kevin Love chipped in a double-double with 11 points, and Kyle Korver found his range to supplement James’ otherworldly output.
As for the Pacers, Victor Oladipo is finding out what being the focal point of an offense feels like. The Cavaliers are throwing all of their defensive resources at the All-Star guard to get the ball out of his hands. He’s getting hounded into either taking bad shots or making bad decisions. He went just 2-for-15 for 12 points in Game 5.
Oladipo is shooting just 36.8% from the field, and 32.5% from deep, and averaging four turnovers a game. If he can find a way to provide a semi-competent performance from the perimeter, it will allow Indiana’s big men to go to work down low, where they were literally unstoppable in Game 5. Thad Young had 16 points, while Domantas Sabonis poured in a team-high 22.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers Regular Season Team Stats
|44.1||Points In The Paint||44.6|
|April 25 – Playoff||CLE||98-95||CLE|
|April 22 – Playoff||IND||104-100||CLE|
|April 20 – Playoff||IND||92-90||IND|
|April 18 – Playoff||CLE||100-97||CLE|
|April 15 – Playoff||CLE||98-80||IND|
|Jan. 26 – Regular Season||CLE||115-108||CLE|
|Jan. 12 – Regular Season||IND||97-95||IND|
|Dec. 8 – Regular Season||IND||96-89||IND|
|Nov. 1 – Regular Season||CLE||108-100||IND|
Notable Injuries and Absences
|George Hill (back): Questionable||No injuries|
Straight Up Advice: Cavaliers (107-99)
The Cavaliers are the lowest scoring team in this year’s NBA postseason, pumping in just 94.4 points per contest, but they’re holding the Pacers to just 96.4 points per game.
Game 5 was the fourth time this series they’ve limited their opponent to under 100 points. Cleveland’s formula is simple: control tempo, work for good shots in the half court, and keep the game close to let James make the key winning plays in the end.
Cleveland’s formula is simple: control tempo, work for good shots in the halfcourt, and keep the game close to let James make the key winning plays in the end.
Indiana needs someone to make some shots. In Game 3, Bojan Bogdanovic set fire to the Cavaliers with an 11-for-15, 30-point show which propelled them to a win. In two games since, he’s had just 21 points, on 8-for-22 shooting. It’s starting to look like having to defend LeBron is taking its toll.
You know James will show up in Game 6, but who will help? Perhaps the merry-go-round stops at a couple of newcomers. Jordan Clarkson is averaging just 5.2 points a game in this series, while Rodney Hood is at 6.4 points. It would be a great time to break out.
Regardless, whatever the rest of the team can muster plus LeBron should be enough to end this series.
|Cleveland is 22-21 SU on the road||Indiana is 28-15 SU at home|
|Cleveland is 6-4 SU in its last ten games||Indiana is 5-5 SU in its last ten games|
|Cleveland is 11-8 SU as an underdog||Indiana is 24-12 SU as a favorite|
|Cleveland is 21-31-0 ATS after a win||Indiana is 24-12-0 ATS after a loss|
|Cleveland is 32-54-1 ATS this season (37.2%)||Indiana is 51-36-0 ATS this season (58.6%)|
|Cleveland is 19-24-0 ATS on the road||Indiana is 25-18-0 ATS at home|
Additional SU Picks (April 27th)
It’s a win-or-go-home kind of Friday night in the NBA, with both the Thunder and Wizards on the brink.
|Thunder vs Jazz – Game 6||Jazz|
|Raptors vs Wizards – Game 6||Wizards|