NBA Playoffs: Cavaliers Host Pacers

NBA Playoffs 2018

Lebron Never Lost Opening Round Series in NBA Playoffs

The Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers meet at Quicken Loans Arena in their NBA Playoffs First-Round Series. The 4th Seeded Cavaliers are trying to make a 4th straight NBA Finals appearance. The 5th seeded Pacers may have something to say about it in this rematch from 2017.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Oddsmakers opened the Cavaliers as -5-point favorites versus the Pacers, while the game’s total opened at 217.5. The line is now Cleveland -7 and the total has dropped to 212.5.

The Cavs swept the Pacers out of the first round last season. Both teams have changed drastically since that series. Not much can be taken from it.

Lebron James is arguably the most dominant player in the first round of the NBA playoffs history.  His teams have won 21 games in a row in the opening round, which is an NBA record. He’s never lost a first-round series, and sits at 12-0. James never even lost a Game 1 of any first round.

The last time his team lost any game in the first round was May 6, 2012. The Miami Heat lost by two to the New York Knicks in Game 4.

Pacers Surprised Some People This Season to Make NBA Playoffs

Paul George was the Pacers’ best player last season. He was traded to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo in the off-season. Oladipo is now Indiana’s best player. He averaged career highs in points at 23.1 per game, rebounds at 5.2, and assists at 4.3.

Domantas Sabonis was another key piece in the George trade. He’s averaging 11.6 points and 7.7 rebounds, mostly off the bench. Sabonis closed the regular season strong with 30 points last Sunday at Charlotte. He also had a double-double in the season finale on Tuesday.

Darren Collison is Indiana’s new point guard. He has averaged 12.4 points and led the NBA with a .468 3-point field-goal percentage.

Cavaliers Changes More Profound in March to NBA Playoffs

The Cavs’ changes are even more prominent because they’ve undergone two sets of them.

Cleveland traded Kyrie Irving last summer for Isaiah Thomas, Ante Zizic, Jae Crowder, along with two draft picks. The Cavs also signed Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade.

On Feb. 8, Thomas, Crowder, Rose, and Wade, along with Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert, were all traded away for George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson.

All four of the Cavs-Pacers games took place before those trades.

The Cavs have been to the last three NBA Finals. Only four of those players remain.  Only James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, and JR Smith are  left from the 2016 title team. Four players have never played a playoff game. They are Cedi Osman, Zizic, Clarkson, and Nance.

For the first time in his career, Love will be Cleveland’s second scoring option in the playoffs instead of its third.

Cavaliers SG Rodney Hood (Achilles) sat out the final two games of the regular season but is expected to be available on Sunday.

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Indiana at Cleveland Wednesday, April 18

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