Cavs vs. Pacers First Round Preview

LeBron James left and Bojan Bogdanovic

The Pacers won the regular-season series 3-1. Toronto is the top seed and its duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry dearly craves its chance to take down the Cavs in a likely semifinal round series. "You've got to double-team him because he makes good decisions with the basketball". The Cavaliers had trimmed the Pacers' 21-point lead to 42-32 in the second quarter before in closed the half strong. In the first quarter, Nance Jr. had six points and no one else had more than two.

But while all those overbearing facts would seem to give Cleveland a huge advantage against IN in a best-of-seven Eastern Conference series that starts Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena, James isn't taking the Pacers lightly. LeBron James has historically hit another gear in the postseason. That allowed Cleveland to forge a 25-7 run to make it 70-63 with 1:06 left in the period and when the quarter ended, in had led by a 73-65 score. And my model can't account for playoff LeBron. But James got little help as Cleveland's four other starters - Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Rodney Hood and George Hill - combined for 25 points. IN was on roll through April 1, but did lose three of its final five games heading into the postseason.

These two squads locked up in the opening round of the Playoffs one year ago, but to say that each is a completely different team this year would be an understatement. So expect a competitive series between the teams.

When 4 and 5 seeds meet there should be a competitive series as a result.

The Cavaliers continued their push in the early stages of the final period, with James' layup with 10:29 to go in the game making it a seven-point contest at 76-69. Now that they've been paired up against the Cavaliers, Indiana will be vying to duplicate the success they had against Cleveland in the regular season.

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The Celtics are still benefiting here from their strong start with Kyrie Irving in the lineup. "So, it's very important that we try to keep a point guard on the floor with him at all times". Only four players remain from the 2016 NBA Finals title team: Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Love and James.

Still, let's not go overboard here.

After beating Virginia on their way to winning the ACC championship, the only way the Wolfpack could make the tournament as they lost 10 games during a disappointing regular season, they had to face Virginia in the NCAA Regional final. Since then, those teams are 0-7 and none have forced a Game 7. Got married. Came back.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on April 9, 2018 in New York City. "He's the best player in the league". Remarkably, John Wall did not play in any of the four matchups. The Cavaliers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Sunday games, 16-34-1 ATS in their last 51 home games and 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games overall. "I need to score points, rebound and block shots".

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