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Cavaliers vs Pacers Game 6: LeBron James Looks to End Things in Indy

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Updated Jan 5, 2023 · 3:24 AM PST

LeBron James
LeBron James and the Cavaliers are on the ropes, down 0-2 to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Final. Photo by Ian D'Andrea (Flickr) [CC License]
  • 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.

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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.

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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


110.6  Offensive Rating 107.6
110.9 Points  105.6
23.4 Assists 22.2
47.6 Field-Goal Percentage 47.2
37.2  Three-Point Percentage 36.9
+0.9  Plus/Minus +1.4


109.5 Defensive Rating 105.5
109.9 Points 104.1
-1.5 Rebounding Differential -0.7
+0.4  Turnover Differential -2.0
47.4  Field-Goal Percentage 46.5
36.8 Three-Point Percentage 34.8
44.1 Points In The Paint 44.6

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Head-to-Head Results

Date Location Score Winner
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

Cavaliers Pacers
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.

Team Trends

Cavaliers Pacers
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.

 Match-Up SU Pick
Thunder vs Jazz – Game 6 Jazz
Raptors vs Wizards – Game 6 Wizards


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