2017 Hoops Inq. Playoff Preview: Cavaliers (2) - Pacers (7)

2017 Hoops Inq. Playoff Preview: Cavaliers (2) - Pacers (7)


Series Schedule:

Game 1: Saturday, 4/15 @ Cleveland

Game 2: Monday, 4/17 @ Cleveland

Game 3: Thursday, 4/20 @ Indiana

Game 4: Sunday, 4/23 @ Indiana

Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, 4/25 @ Cleveland

Game 6 (if necessary): Thursday, 4/27 @ Indiana

Game 7 (if necessary): Saturday, 4/29 @Cleveland

Regular Season Series Results:

The Cavaliers won the regular season series 3-1 with high-scoring affairs over the Pacers.

Players To Watch:

Indiana Pacers:

Paul George: Everything beings and ends with George when it comes to Indiana's playoff hopes. George averaged 24.75 points, 5.75 assists, and 8.75 rebounds per game in the four regular season contests against Cleveland. His play was rather inconsistent in the games. In one game, he shot 4-19 from the field. In another match, he dropped 43 points. Consistent play from George is where Indiana's chances start -- and end -- this season.

Jeff Teague: Teague will be tasked with the near-impossible task of containing Kyrie Irving. Teague had a pretty solid season, and always up-played towards the level of competition the Cavaliers brought. Teague notched double-digit assists in three of the four contests and got 20 or more points in half of the games. Not only will Teague have to contain Irving at least, but he will also have to distribute the ball like he did in the previous contests and attack a poor-Irving defense.

Myles Turner: Perhaps the most exciting person to watch in this series, Turner will have to prove he is playoff ready early and often against the defending champions. Turner's play against the Cavaliers in the regular season was nothing to write home about, failing to notch a double-double in any contest. He will have to play bigger than he is and protect the paint against a very potent Cavaliers driving game, as well as needing to be the main proponent of securing the rebounding battle against Cleveland.

Cleveland Cavaliers: 

Kyle Korver: Ah, yes. Exactly who you thought you would see first here for the Cavaliers. The fact of the matter is Korver played in two contests against the Pacers with Cleveland and tore it up. He scored 29 points (on 8-9 three-point shooting) and 22 points (on 6-8 three-point shooting) respectively. Korver presents massive matchup problems in every game, especially when he's had the hot sauce. He will be vital for opening up driving lanes for LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie Irving: Another shocker. Irving played well against the Pacers in the regular season, averaging 25.5 points in the four contests against Indiana. All Irving has to do to help out the slumping Cavaliers in this series is play like he did in the regular season. The only thing he will have to improve on is drifting away from the isolation plays and distributing the ball to get the ball moving like Lue's offense needs to thrive.

LeBron James: James is the player to watch on whatever team he is on. Playoff James needs to activate his swarming defense to contain Paul George. If James can lock down George, then there is nothing that will stop Cleveland from having their way.

Cleveland is stumbling into the playoffs, dropping their last four games after falling apart and not looking like the team that overcame a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals last season. However, the playoffs always tend to wake LeBron James and whatever team he's on. The Cavaliers may drop one game, and it might even be the first game of the series. However, one game is all they will lose. Cavaliers in 5.