NBA Playoff Predictions — Game 4: Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers
Are the Cleveland Cavaliers in a state of disarray? Quite possibly they are. After blowing a big halftime lead and losing to the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference playoff series, the Cavs are in danger of going into a hole they can’t dig themselves out of. They will try to even up this series on Sunday night, as Game 4 begins at 8:35 PM ET at the Banker Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. You know, BetAnySports customers can access reduced juice to give them better value in the odds, and then Live Betting Ultra enables real-time wagering even after the game has started.
The Cavs came out like a locomotive in Game 2 at home, with LeBron James scoring their first 16 points and leading 33-18 at the end of the first quarter, but they barely held on for a 100-97 victory, after Indiana had dominated Game 1. And on Friday, they led by 17 points at the half. But it was all Pacers from there, as they made up that difference and even got seven points head in the final quarter on the way to a 92-90 win. Now LeBron has his back to the wall, and this is an unusual place for him to be, as he has won his last ten opening-round playoff series, whether it has been with the Cavs or the Miami Heat.
Indiana is one of those teams that operates with a lot of chemistry, and it is an ensemble, although there is indeed a star. Victor Oladipo is going to win some kind of award at the end of all this, perhaps the Most Improved Player award, and he quickly became the leader of this crew when he came over from Oklahoma City as part of the Paul George trade. How important is he to the fortunes of the Pacers? Well, in terms of the “Usage” rate, which in general indicates how involved a player is in the offense, LeBron James has had a 34.3 figure, while Oladipo’s is actually higher (34.6).
In the odds from BetAnySports upon which we will make our NBA playoff predictions, the game is a pick’em affair:
Cleveland Cavaliers pick
Over 205 points -110
Under 205 points -110
Do the Pacers have what it takes to “close out” an opponent? That’s a legitimate question to ask, since this grouping of players is competing in the playoffs for the first time together. They have gotten 48% shooting from Oladipo, and more importantly 59.3% from three-point range. Another thing that must be taken into consideration is that Cleveland has not exactly come on strong in the second halves of games, scoring 42, 42 and 33 points. Okay, so teams have made halftime adjustments, which, on a whiteboard anyway, are not that difficult, since things pretty much begin and end with LeBron. he’s scored 36% of the Cavs’ points and taken 33 of the team’s 58 free throws.
LeBron’s supporting cast has really endured some shuffling this season. Was it a good idea to turn the roster over without leaving a heck of a lot of time for everyone to get used to LeBron, and each other? One of the newcomers is former Indiana point guard George Hill (who also went to college in Indianapolis), who has shot well in this series (9 of 16) but had problems with his back, meaning that the Cavs may have to start Jose Calderon at the point guard spot (which isn’t really point guard, since King James dominates the ball).
We don’t know if Bojan Bogdanovic can duplicate his 30-point performance from Friday, which was enhanced by a great defensive effort as well. But we can tell you that neither of these teams has necessarily been in a hurry on the offensive end. The pace of this series has been slow – 90.9 possessions per 48 minutes, in fact, and together, they have hit only 32% from three-point territory. The total is to high – we very much like the idea of an “under” on Game 4.
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