Back when LeBron James had even less help in Cleveland than he has now, he would dominate a lot and whenever he didn’t, Cleveland would lose.
These days, he dominates every game. Cleveland still loses some of them but it makes me wonder what could happen to the Cavs if he isn’t as flawless as he’s been the entire series for just. one game.
James made the game-saving block on one end and hit the game-winning three on the other within the final five seconds of Game 5. The best player in the world can take even a mediocre team a long way in the game of basketball.
The last two minute report confirmed that the block on Victor Oladipo’s game-winning layup attempt was actually a goaltend. Had they made a call there, the Cavs would have still called a timeout; they would have still inbounded the ball where they did; and James may have hit the same buzzer-beater, to win by one instead of three.
He also may not have and the Pacers could have won. Instead, they must win not only this game in Indianapolis, but a Game 7 in Cleveland. The East futures market would look a whole lot different than it does, too.
Currently, the market says it’s a three-horse race between the Raptors (+165), the 76ers (+185) and the Cavs (+190). Philadelphia has been getting all the steam lately but it would seem for good reason. It’s through to Round 2 and will be a favorite against either Boston or Milwaukee. Both Toronto and Cleveland are underdogs in their respective Game 6 on the road and would, of course, play one another in Round 2, if they both advance.
Both Toronto and Cleveland are heavy favorites to win at least one of the next two (-600) but I can’t imagine who is getting in line to make that investment. The Wizards played with some swagger at home in Games 3 and 4 and even competed back in Toronto in Game 5. The Raptors’ core hasn’t exactly earned the reputation of coming up clutch, either.
But more so than any higher seed that still has hopes of advancing (OKC is dead), Cleveland has had its hands the most full with its opponent.
I picked Indiana in my Game 5 analysis and the reason was, as it usually is, fairly straight-forward: Indiana is every bit as good as Cleveland. If Cleveland had a next level, it would have tapped into it in Game 5. It doesn’t. LeBron has dominated for five games and Cleveland has won three of them.
The Pacers were an easier pick on the road because all they had to do was keep it close. The home angle is different because they must win and I don’t believe the home court matters to Indiana (or affects LeBron) nearly as much as it swings other series’.
I do think it helps Indiana out enough, not to mention that the Pacers are playing for tomorrow. Ladies and gentleman, we’re going to a Game 7.
Free Pick: Indiana -1