Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA: 7:00 PM EST
April 18, 2018
Indiana surprised the basketball world by taking a stranglehold of Cleveland in the 1st quarter and never surrendering the lead on the way to a comfortable 98-80 win at the Quicken Loans Arena. Victor Oladipo led the way for the Pacers with a playoff career-high 32 points, and Indiana jumped out to a 20-point lead before Lebron James attempted a shot from the field. Lebron ultimately finished the contest with a triple-double, but his passive play early dug the host Cavaliers into a hole they couldn’t recover from.
Cleveland front-man Tyronn Lue has emphasized how important it is for James to set the tone for the Cavaliers, and how the entire team plays more loosely and free and easy when he establishes himself as a scorer early. Lebron had not lost a first-round playoff game since his first stint with Cleveland in 2010, a streak spanning 21 games. After 7 career first-round playoff losses, James has posted a 7-0 record and gaudy numbers (over 35ppg) in the following game. I expect that trend to continue Wednesday night. If James can push the envelope early, we could see a back and forth game that might see Indiana looking to exploit one of the league’s worst defenses in the Cavaliers.
Our Free Betting Pick: Over 209