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Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers Series Preview

by Daniel Gerbick on Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Cleveland-Indiana Playoff SeriesIn the Eastern Conference playoffs, the fourth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers will be going against the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers as LeBron James will try to lead his team past a well-rounded group led by guard Victor Oladipo.

The Pacers have been surprisingly good this season even though many pundits had them tanking after trading away Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Oladipo has instead led them to the playoffs and even though they have a tough task ahead of them they will not go out without a fight as proven by their head-to-head record, with the Pacers winning the regular-season series 3-1.

That can be explained by the fact that the Cavaliers are playing historically bad defense this season and the Pacers have tough defenders that can make life difficult for “the King,” like Thaddeus Young and Lance Stephenson, who has bothered James in previous playoff matchups.

But don’t underestimate James even if he has a weaker team compared to previous years. The Pacers may be able to slow him down but won’t be able to shut him down completely, so as long as the Cavaliers have home-field advantage in the series all bets should be on them.

Oladipo has been amazing both on offense and defense for the Pacers this season and will be relied upon to lead the Pacers and take them to the next round.

Oladipo should once again be the Pacers main scorer even though he will have the sturdy George Hill guarding him. Hill is tough enough to make life a bit harder on Oladipo to score when compared to other defenders around the league.

Should Oladipo struggle against Hill the Pacers will need other players, such as Darren Collison and Cory Joseph, to step up for perimeter scoring.

For the Cavaliers, big man Kevin Love will need to step his game up a notch, as well as Larry Nance Jr. They must help guard Myles Turner who is a big inside and outside threat as he is a solid shooter from beyond the arc.

This is far from a good matchup for the Pacers, but if they can take away home-field advantage from the Cavs, find a formula to exploit Cleveland’s horrendous defense and find a way to slow down James they could stun the Cavs in seven. Since all those things won’t happen at the same time, look for the Cavaliers to advance in six.

There will most likely be a couple of close games (perhaps in Indiana) where Oladipo will take over and hit some clutch shots, but in the end, James and the Cavs will be too much for the Pacers to handle.

Series Schedule:

  • Game 1 in Cleveland: Sunday, April 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
  • Game 2 in Cleveland: Wednesday, April 18, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
  • Game 3 in Indianapolis: Friday, April 20, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Game 4 in Indianapolis: Sunday, April 22, 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT
  • Game 5 in Cleveland: TBA (if necessary)
  • Game 6 in Indianapolis: TBA (if necessary)
  • Game 7 in Cleveland: TBA (if necessary)









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