NBA Playoffs recap: Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 1 Betting Odds

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  Victor Oladipo Pens Heartfelt Players Tribune Essay

NBAE Getty Images Victor Oladipo Pens Heartfelt Players Tribune Essay

Eight of those wins came without Embiid. The total margin of victory for the Cavaliers was 16 points, and while the fourth-seeded Cavs are expected to eliminate IN again, even if it takes more than four games, the fifth-seeded Pacers are confident they can pull an upset. As for Boston, it seems to be screwed due to injuries despite having the two seed and its long odds to reach the NBA Finals indicate that. Many people assumed the Pacers were entering a rebuilding stage, especially after they traded away Paul George.

"Kevin's just being Kevin", coach Tyronn Lue said Friday after practice.

The Pacers are 35-15-1 ATS in their last 51 Sunday games, 12-5 ATS in their last 17 vs. It's four-five for a reason.

In two home matchups against the Pacers this season, the Cavs dropped the first meeting by 17 - with IN connecting on 62 percent of its three-point attempts before taking the series finale on January 26 - holding on for the seven-point win.

After the Cavaliers closed the margin to 76-69 with a driving layup by James, the Pacers answered with a 12-2 run, including 3-pointers by Oladipo and Bogdanovic, to take 88-71 lead with 7:28 to go in the fourth quarter. James had a streak of 21 straight wins in the first round going.

"We would like to give our best shot to make it to the Finals and win an National Basketball Association championship", co-star Kevin Love told ESPN.com "I think that's been the goal really ever since 'Bron came back and I got traded here".

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The Pacers jumped to a 25-8 lead, led 33-14 after a quarter and 55-38 at halftime. Those Pacers, though, didn't have Oladipo (32 points) or the balance of this Indy squad, which may lack experience but not confidence. They were 21-20 on the road this season after winning only 13 road games last season. Lue says his rotations could change again depending on matchups and performance.

It feels like the Cleveland Cavaliers have been stuck in the same news cycle for years now. In a topsy-turvy season in Cleveland, the one constant has been the one-man wrecking ball that's James and he's led them to another strong season on offense. Before the Cavaliers dealt Jae Crowder at the trade deadline, he was the player Pacers center Myles Turner sagged off. The 14-time All-Star called Stephenson "a little dirty" after a scuffle in their January 12 game.

Myles Turner had 16 points and eight rebounds, Bojan Bogdanovic ended with 15 points, six rebounds and three steals and Lance Stephenson scored 12 points off the bench for IN, which shot nearly 46-percent IN the win. They had BR's 5th best ORtg but nobody would be surprised to see them drop 125 in any given game.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on April 9, 2018 in New York City.

Cleveland's second unit was outstanding all season - averaging a franchise-record 41.2 points, good for seventh-best in the league.

The game had plenty of words exchanged between the two. Most notably, James had 18 triple-doubles this year, the most of his career.

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