Tell me if you haven’t heard this before, but LeBron James is set to square off against Paul George and the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Playoffs. Starting Saturday, the Indiana Pacers take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Indiana comes into the playoffs riding a 5 game winning streak and Paul George is currently playing his best basketball of the entire season. George is averaging 32.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 4.5 APG in his 6 games in April. Indiana is shooting the basketball well, and limiting their turnovers at the right part of the season. Essentially, the Pacers have been in “playoff mode” since the beginning of April, needing every win possible to reach the playoffs.
Cleveland comes into the playoffs as a #2 seed, slipping behind Boston for the #1 seed over the past week. Cleveland won the season series 3-1 over the Pacers and Indiana’s only win was a 103-93 win in November when LeBron did not dress. Cleveland enters the game averaging 118.4 PPG against Indiana while Pacers average 113.5 PPG.
Is there a chance that the Pacers can knock off LeBron and the Cavs? There is a chance…..even if it’s the slightest, and here are the reasons why.
1. Momentum – The Pacers currently have momentum and can maintain it for the duration of this series. Paul George has lamented all season that the Pacers have lacked an identity, but they seem to have found one in clawing their way into the playoffs. The Pacers ended the regular season on a five-game winning streak. Cleveland has limped their way into the playoffs over the past month, and Indiana took Cleveland to double overtime at Cleveland in the beginning of April. The Pacers haven’t lost since that game.
2. Paul George – We have said this many times in the past, the Pacers will go as far as Paul George will lead them. If George can put 4 quarters together, continue to shoot the ball well, and facilitate the ball to his open teammates, the sky is the limit (or roof according to Michael Jordan). Paul loves playing on national television and starting on Saturday, he gets his chance against the best player in the world LeBron James.
3. 3-Point Shooting – The Pacers might not strike you as an elite three-point shooting team, but they own the fourth-best percentage in the NBA at 37%. They’re also No. 2 from the free throw line. Cleveland shoots the three pointer at a record pace and made with 1,057 makes this season. The x-factor is the three pointer and if Indiana can catch the Cavs ice cold from the perimeter, Indy can capitalize and anything can happen.
4. Lance Stephenson – Born Ready 2.0 has reemerged with the Pacers since he was signed by the team back on March 29th. Lance as brought a level of energy and excitement that the Pacers have needed all season. He gives that edge and feistiness that a team needs in the playoffs. Let’s not forget the Lance-LeBron matchup that will surely be fun to watch. The 2014 NBA Playoff memes of Lance blowing into LeBron’s ear has taken social media into a frenzy hoping for a “ear blow 2.0”.
5. Indiana Fans – There is something about the state of Indiana and basketball that cannot be justified in words. The passion, loyalty and character of Indiana fans is unmatched across the country. As the saying goes “In 49 states it’s just basketball, but this is Indiana”. Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be rocking next week when Cleveland comes to town and the Pacers have no pressure in the series. Everyone is expecting Cleveland to win and for the right reasons. Indiana is coming into the game playing loose, having fun and with nothing to lose. These are the type of teams that are the scariest in the playoffs.
Buckle up, it’s going to be a fun series for sure!
Prediction : Indiana wins 4-3
Game 1 – at Cavs, Saturday, April 15, 3 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 2 – at Cavs, Monday, April 17, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 – at Pacers, Thursday, April 20, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 4 – at Pacers, Sunday, April 23, 1 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 5 (if necessary) – at Cavs, Tuesday, April 25 (TBD)
Game 6 (if necessary) – at Pacers, Thursday, April 27 (TBD)
Game 7 (if necessary) – at Cavs, Saturday, April 29, TNTFollow Us Here: