NBA Playoff Odds — Game 3: Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers
Will the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to find success with LeBron James handling almost the whole load? This is a worthwhile question to ask as they head into Game 3 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Indiana Pacers. which is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET on Friday at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Remember that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can get reduced juice before the game begins, and then extend the action into the game itself with Live Betting Ultra.
Indiana administered a pretty thorough 98-80 beating in Game 1, and Victor Oladipo more or less dominated the action, with 32 points. But you knew that the Cavs weren’t going away easily, and LeBron James went to work in Game 2, scoring Cleveland’s first sixteen points as they got off to a 16-1 lead, while Oladipo was neutralized with two early fouls that sat him down right away. Even with that early advantage, which was 14 points at the half, and despite 46 points from James, what it came down to was for Oladipo to miss a three-pointer with time running out that would have tied things up. The 100-97 final brought the series even, but the Cavaliers are not exactly breathing easy.
The Pacers now bring it back to a venue where they were successful in two meetings with Cleveland this season, capturing both meetings. And the Cavs know that somewhere along the way, they are going to have to get substantial contributions from people aside from LeBron, as they are staring at an opponent that is deep and balanced.
In the NBA playoff betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Pacers are the slight favorite:
Indiana Pacers -1
Cleveland Cavaliers +1
Over 209 points -110
Under 209 points -110
Think about the fact that it took such a gargantuan effort on the part of LeBron to enable the Cavs to get by. Once again he is taking matters completely into his own hands; he is the only member of the team who is getting to the line, and he is the only one who has more than eight field goals. His Usage rate for Game 2 was 40.3, and to put that into perspective, the league leader in that category, James Harden, was at 36.1.
It was understood that when the Cavs made those big deals, both before the season and right before the trade deadline, there could be a period of adjustment, and you just wonder whether LeBron is really comfortable putting too much responsibility into the hands of his new teammates, such as George Hill, Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson. There was some effect on the part of Kyle Korver, one of those who was spared a trade, had four triples, which did create some room for LeBron to operate. But this is hardly a fluid offense, and when it comes down to it, they’re still going to be relying on those isolation plays.
If Kyrie Irving was still around, he would provide that consistent scoring outlet that would prevent any opponent from concentrating too much upon James. But no one has taken his place (the Isaiah Thomas thing turned out to be a failure) and Kevin Love is hurting (partially torn ligament in thumb). He’ll play anyway, although you have to be wondering whether the Cavs are going to give Tristan Thompson some playing time. Just a couple of season after being such a big factor in this team winning a world championship, Thompson sat the bench for Game 2. Of course, there are strange circumstances, as he was caught cheating on his baby momma, Khloe Kardashian, who gave birth to their child last week.
We understand the power of LeBron, and we know that whether it is home or away, he is capable of spearheading a victory. But Indiana looks like the team that has the chemistry right now, and the defensive answers, when it comes down to it, may be something Cleveland doesn’t possess. So we are going with the Pacers.
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