Indiana Pacers (51-37) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (53-35)
When and Where: Sunday, April 29th, 1 PM ET, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
We get to see another Lance Stephenson vs LeBron James clash for the final time this season as the Indiana Pacers fly out to Cleveland, Ohio, where they will play the decisive game 7 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pacers forced LeBron James to play game 7 of the first round for the first time in his career and will get a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals for the first time since the season 2013-14.
The Pacers deliver a huge statement in game 6
The Indiana Pacers will face first-round elimination for the 2nd straight game, but after dominating the Cavs in Game 6 with a 121-87 win, the Cavs would need a miracle to stop Oladipo and Co. of advancing to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. It was Oladipo who led the Pacers to a convincing win, as he recorded his first playoff triple-double with 28 points, 13 boards, and 10 assists. However, the Pacers had 6 more players scoring in double-figures, with Lance Stephenson and Domantas Sabonis providing a spark off the bench with 12 and 19 points respectively.
The Pacers have a positive ATS scoring, going 4-0 on the road in their last 4 away games, and 26-18 ATS in their last 44 away games. As a team, the Pacers have not been too efficient offensively, scoring only 105.6 points per game (16th). However, their defense has been superb, as they allow only 104.2 points to the opposition. Victor Oladipo is the Pacers leading scorer in the playoffs, as he averages 21.5 points per game, while Bojan Bogdanovic adds 14.0 points per contest.
The Cavs look to avoid first-round elimination
LeBron James has been outstanding in this postseason, but the rest of the team has not lived up to the task, especially Kevin Love who is averaging only 11.0 ppg this series. Love played 24 minutes in game 6, scoring only 7 points (3-10 FG) and pulling down 7 boards. Rodney Hood (12 pts) and Jeff Green (13 pts) were the only Cavs players scoring in double-figure beside James, who finished the game with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. The Cleveland Cavaliers were outrebounded 33-44 by the Pacers in game 6, while the Pacers recorded 27 assists, compared to only 16 Cavs assists.
One segment that the Cavs have been especially good in this series is their 3-point shooting. Ever since game 2 of the series, the Cavs have made at least 10 three-pointers per game. Kyle Korver and JR Smith have led the Cavs in shooting from behind the arc, and those two will need their best shooting game on Sunday if they want to help their Cavs team reach the next round. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been scoring 110.9 points per game (48% FG) in the regular season. However, in the series against the Pacers, the Cavs have been averaging only 93.2 points per game, shooting only 43% from the field. The 14.8 TO per game is certainly something the Cavs need to take care of if they want to progress deep into the postseason.
- Pacers are 36-14-1 ATS in their last 51 Sunday games.
- Pacers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
- Under is 4-0 in Cavaliers last 4 home games.
- Under is 7-1-1 in Cavaliers last 9 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Under is 6-1 in Cavaliers last 7 overall.
The Indiana Pacers have proved to be a tough matchup for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, defeating them 3 times in the regular season, and now forcing game 7 in the postseason. Although the ATS score is not in favor of the Cavs, and considering the Pacers domination of game 6, it is still hard to imagine LeBron James out of the title contention this early in the postseason. The Cavs are not playing their best basketball, but I will still back them up to cover the -5.5 points spread and advance to the next round. Also, the Under has dominated the Pacers vs Cavs matchups, so look for another low scoring contest.