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Clutch Feed: LeBron and Kyrie Irving can make extraordinary history tonight with or without a sweep

Cleveland Cavaliers (2nd Seed) vs Indiana Pacers (7th Seed)

Eastern Conference Playoffs – Round One, Game Three

Game Preview:

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UPCOMING MILESTONES: LeBron James is just 13 baskets away from claiming the 4th most field goals in NBA playoffs history – passing Kobe Bryant. In addition, with five more triples, LeBron James can tally 300 in his postseason career, joining Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, and Manu Ginobli as the only players to do so. With three baskets, Kyrie Irving will have made the 2nd most in Cavaliers playoff history – passing Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

With a 3-0 lead in the series after an impressive 26 point comeback in Game Three, the Cavaliers need to win just one more to advance to the next round. Unfortunately for the Pacers, no team in NBA history has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit to win four straight. With momentum from the second half, the Wine-and-Gold will be up against a Pacers team trying to delay elimination while in front of their home town.

In Game Three, the Cavaliers entered the second half down 49 to 74, but rallied back with consecutive 35 point performances in both the third and fourth quarters to claim a 119-114 victory in a game that marked the largest halftime deficit comeback in NBA playoffs history. In the second half, the Cavaliers held the Pacers to just 25.0% from the field and 24.0% from three, after allowing them to shoot 56.8% from the field and 58.8% from three in the first half. Overall, one of the biggest issues for the Cavaliers was rebounding – the Pacers outrebounded the Cavaliers 52-40. In addition, the Pacers were able to secure 17 offensive rebounds, with Thaddeus Young pulling down 10 himself.

With Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both sitting for the entire fourth quarter, Tyron Lue deferred to players like Channing Frye, Kyle Korver, and Deron Williams to help complete the Cavaliers comeback – all of whom weren’t known for their defense in the regular season. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers allowed just 82.9 points per 100 possessions in the fourth quarter, while scoring an average of 154.9 points per 100 possessions.

Three main keys for Game 4 will be: (1) box out on the defensive end. In the regular season, the Cavaliers allowed their opponents to grab 16 or more offensive boards just seven times, and they lost three of those. (2) Continue to find the open man on offense. The Cavaliers were able to shoot 48 uncontested shots – making up over half of their 87 total shots – in Game Three. (3) Continue to work on making free throws while also limiting the shooting fouls committed. In Game Three, the Cavaliers shot 66.7% from the line. In the 18 regular season games where they shot 66.7% or worse on foul shots, the Cavaliers lost 10 times. Conversely, the Pacers scored 19.3% of their total points off of foul shots.

Key players to watch for on the Pacers will be Paul George (averaged 23.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in the regular season), Jeff Teague (averaged 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game), and Myles Turner (averaged 14.5 points, and 7.3 rebounds per game).

Tipoff is set for 1:00 EST and will be broadcast on ABC.
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