INDIANA PACERS (29-26)
at CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (38-16)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Cleveland -6.0, Total: 219.5
The Cavaliers will be going for their third straight win when they host the Pacers on Wednesday.
Indiana is really struggling heading into this game, as the team has now lost four straight games. The loss that kicked off this losing streak was actually against the Cavaliers, when the Pacers were blown out 132-117 as 3.5-point home underdogs. Cleveland improved to 6-4 SU against Indiana over the past three seasons with that victory, but the Pacers are actually 8-2 ATS in those contests. This Cavaliers team is, however, playing some very good basketball right now. Cleveland defeated Minnesota 116-108 as a four-point road favorite on Tuesday, and the team has now won-and-covered in two straight and six of its past seven. The Cavs have a good opportunity to stay hot on Wednesday, as they are 4-0 SU when hosting the Pacers over the past three seasons. Cleveland is also an impressive 15-5 ATS in home games after five straight games forcing an opponent to commit 14 or less turnovers over the past three seasons. It also helps that the Cavaliers are hosting a Pacers team that is just 2-12 ATS in road games after scoring 100 points or more in four straight games over the past three seasons. PF Thaddeus Young (Wrist) is questionable for Indiana in this game, and Cleveland will be without PF Kevin Love (Knee) and SG J.R. Smith (Wrist) for the next couple of weeks.
If the Pacers are going to snap their four-game losing streak then SF Paul George (22.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.6 SPG) is going to need to be on his game. George has played well against the Cavaliers this season, averaging 21.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 5.5 APG, 2.0 SPG and 1.0 BPG on 45.9% shooting from the field in two meetings. George does, however, need to be even better than that. He’ll probably need to outplay LeBron James if Indiana is going to win this won on the road. That is not necessarily likely, but it is not out of the realm of possibility. C Myles Turner (15.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.1 BPG) will also need to be a lot better than he was in the last game against the Cavaliers. Turner is an excellent rim protector, but he had no blocks in that game on Feb. 8. He also went just 4-for-10 from the floor, and the Pacers need him to be more efficient. If he is not locked in on Wednesday then this game could get out of hand fast. PG Jeff Teague (15.6 PPG, 8.1 APG, 4.1 RPG), meanwhile, will need to play a similar game to the one he played on Feb. 8. He had 22 points and 14 assists in that game, and it’d be big if he can repeat that performance on Wednesday.
The Cavaliers are coming off of a very impressive win over the Timberwolves, and SF LeBron James (25.8 PPG, 8.9 APG, 7.8 RPG, 1.4 SPG) was unbelievable in that one. James had 25 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds on 10-for-14 shooting from the floor. He did not take any bad shots in that game, and he’ll hope to continue to play that efficient brand of basketball on Wednesday. He should have no trouble dominating this Pacers team, as he had 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds, a block and a steal in 38 minutes against Indiana on Feb. 8. James’ combination of speed and strength is too much for the Pacers to handle. PG Kyrie Irving (24.4 PPG, 5.9 APG, 1.2 SPG) was also ridiculous against the Pacers in that game. Irving had 29 points and seven assists in 34 minutes of action, and he did so on a night that he went 0-for-5 from three. That is unlikely to happen again on Wednesday, and it is possible that he goes for over 30 in this one. He’ll just need to be a bit better on the defensive end, as he had trouble with Teague last time around.