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LeBron James and the Cavaliers Look to Even the Series with Pacers

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Apr 21, 2018 · 7:34 PM PDT

Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Cavaliers on Sunday. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Cavaliers on the ropes facing a critical Game 4 in Indiana
  • Bojan Bogdanovic emerging as key piece to Pacers on both ends
  • Who can help take on some of the scoring burden for LeBron James?

Sunday’s Game 4 is about as close to a must win as you can get for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who try to even their First-Round best-of-seven series against the Pacers in Indiana, after a Game 3 collapse has them trailing 2-1.

Cleveland was dominating the Pacers in Game 3, heading into the half up 17. But the wheels fell off fast, sparked by Bojan Bogdanovic’s career playoff-high 30 – many of them made in the clutch and of the spectacular variety.

Not only did he outscore LeBron James, who had 28 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists in the loss, but Bogdanovic held his own on the defensive end, and helped force James into a game-high six turnovers.

The King is not getting much help in this series. This is now the third straight game that no other Cavalier was able to crack 20 points scoring. Kevin Love came close, with 19, but he was a non-factor most of the game, and made critical turnovers in the third quarter when the Cavs were outscored 23-12, helping the tide shift in Indiana’s favor.

But credit James, who stood up for his guys when he had every chance to call them out. Here’s hoping that pays off in Game 4.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers  Team Stats

OFFENSE

Cavaliers
VS
Pacers
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

*Stats do not include the playoffs

DEFENSE

Cavaliers
VS
Pacers
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

*Stats do not include the playoffs

Head-to-Head Results

Date Location Score Winner
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

Pacers Cavaliers
No injuries No injuries

 Straight Up Advice: Cavaliers (108-99)

While many predicted defense to be an issue for the Cavaliers, who ranked dead last in the regular season in a plethora of categories, this hasn’t been the case in the playoffs. In fact, they’ve held the Pacers under 100 points in every game.

That happened only one time during the regular season, during a November winning streak when names like Wade, Rose and Thomas dotted the roster.

It’s their offense that has fallen off a cliff. This is a team that pumped in over 110 points a game during the regular season, and was expected to outscore their problems come layoff time. After three games, they’re averaging a paltry 90 points per. Only the 90’s Knicks and Heat think that’s a scoring frenzy.

After three games, the Cavaliers are averaging a paltry 90 points per game. Only the 90’s Knicks and Heat think that’s a scoring frenzy.

Apart from James, who is averaging 32 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists this series, only Love is averaging double digits in scoring at 14.3.

Meanwhile, Victor Oladipo has cooled since his Game 1 coming out party, as the Cavaliers have consistently sent double teams his way. He’s still averaged 20 points a game over Games 2 and 3.

It’s not like the Pacers were flamethrowers, either. Apart from Bogdanovic going 7-for-9 from beyond the arc, the rest of the team was just 1-for-17.

But they’ve been able to contain Cleveland’s three-point shooting prowess, limiting the Cavaliers to about 30% so far in the series. That’s about the number they shot at in their losses during the regular season.

Expect another slug fest, but one of James’ sidekicks will make a much bigger impact, and bring this series back to Cleveland tied at 2-2.

Team Trends

Cavaliers Pacers
Cleveland is 21-21 SUon the road Indiana is 28-14 SU  at home
Cleveland is 6-4 SU in its last ten games Indiana is 7-3 SU in its last ten games
Cleveland is 11-8-0 SU as an underdog Indiana is 31-8-0 SU as a favorite
Cleveland is 10-22-1 ATS after a loss Indiana is 26-23-0 ATS after a loss
Cleveland is 31-53-1 ATS this season (36.9%) Indiana is 50-35-0 ATS this season (58.8%)
Cleveland is 18-24-0 ATS on the road Indiana is 25-17-0 ATS at home

Additional SU Picks (April 22nd)

It’s a Game 4 bonanza on Sunday in the Association, with plenty at stake, including the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Toronto Raptors trying take control of their series in DC.

 Match-Up SU Pick
Celtics at Bucks – Game 4 Bucks
Warriors vs Spurs – Game 4 Warriors
Raptors vs Wizards Wizards

 

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