NBA Preview: LeBron James has been the King of the first-round playoffs in his career. He has a record of 46-7 and has 19 straight wins coming into tonight’s game at Indiana.
Cleveland Cavaliers (53-31) at Indiana Pacers (42-42), Thursday, 7 p.m. EST
Line: Cavs -2.5. Total 210.5.
Series: Cavs lead 2-0.
LeBron James owns the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
James has never lost a first-round series. He is 11-0 coming into this season with Cleveland and Miami. Eleven first-round series played, hence 11 first-round series won. James is 44-7 in those 11 series.
During the last six years that King James has made the NBA Finals, he has gone 24-2 in the first round. If you include the two wins against Indiana in this series, James is 26-2 and has won 19 straight first-round games. LeBron has now gone 2-0 to start a first-round series 7 straight years. In each of the previous 6 years, the Cavaliers not only won all six Game 3’s, they covered the Vegas spread in all 6 games.
The Pacers are 29-12 at home this season, which is the best home record the Cavaliers will face in the first round the last 7 seasons. However, LeBron is in beast-mode for the postseason. King James has flipped the switch for the playoffs.
LeBron has averaged 28.5 points per game (PPG), 10 assists per games (APG) while grabbing 8 rebounds per game (RPG) in the first two games of this series. Kyrie Irving has averaged 30 PPG and 4 APG, while Kevin Love has averaged 22 PPG and 7.5 RPG.
Paul George has been just as hot for the Pacers. George is averaging 30.5 PPG, 7 APG and 6.5 RPG in the first two games. Lance Stephenson is the third-leading scorer in the postseason for Indiana, averaging 14.5 PPG off the bench.
George got a lot of attention for the second straight game for his post-game remarks. After Game 1, George made it a point to say that he should have gotten the final shot of the game. After Game 2, George pointed some criticism towards teammates Stephenson and Myles Turner. Consequently. George is getting criticism from a lot of talking heads on television for his remarks.
There is no way to really know how these post-game comments are playing out as far as team morale goes. George is certainly doing everything he can to win these games. This is a must-win game for Indiana to stay in this series. However, that fact does not guarantee a win.
The Pacers need to find a few more players to step up in this series. George has put together two outstanding games and Indiana still came up short. If he has an off-game, the Pacers are undoubtedly in big trouble.
JR Smith is questionable for Cleveland with a left hamstring strain. Al Jefferson is questionable for the Pacers with a sprained left ankle but could return tonight.
Cleveland Cavaliers -2.5, laying $110 to win $100 (1 unit, normal play).
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