Pacers at Cavaliers (Game 7)

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Pacers Looking Foward to Game 7 Challenge

April 28, 2018 - Ahead of tomorrow's pivotal Game 7 versus Cleveland, Nate McMillan, Victor Oladipo, Lance Stephenson and Bojan Bogdanovic share their sentiments on how the team is looking forward to the contest.

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Pacers Looking Foward to Game 7 Challenge

April 28, 2018 - Ahead of tomorrow's pivotal Game 7 versus Cleveland, Nate McMillan, Victor Oladipo, Lance Stephenson and Bojan Bogdanovic share their sentiments on how the team is looking forward to the contest.
Apr 28, 2018  |  01:57

Game Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers (Game 7)

Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 1:00 PM ET at Quicken Loans Arena
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Matchup

It all comes down to this. After splitting six games in a back-and-forth, physical first-round series, the Pacers and Cavaliers will meet one final time on Sunday afternoon in a winner-take-all Game 7 in Cleveland.

For Indiana, it will be their second straight game facing elimination, but if Friday's performance is any indication, they should be up for the challenge. The Pacers delivered a major statement on Friday, rolling to a 34-point win in Game 6 in front of a partisan crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The most encouraging part of Friday's victory was the play of All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, who busted out of a three-game slump in a major way. After only connecting on 12-of-50 shots in Games 3-5, Oladipo was simply brilliant in Game 6. He went 11-for-19 from the field and 6-for-8 from the 3-point line on his way and recorded a triple-double, tallying 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists (plus four steals on the defensive end).

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With the season on the line, Oladipo came out with an aggressive mentality, attacking the rim and finishing with power instead of finesse, throwing down three dunks. It will be important for the former Indiana University All-American to keep the same mindset in Game 7.

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On the other end, the Cavaliers are the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions, but this year's team is clearly more flawed than those past squads that cruised to the NBA Finals. LeBron James has been otherworldly throughout this series, but he isn't getting much help.

Fellow All-Star Kevin Love has had a terrible postseason, averaging 11.0 points (6.6 below his season average) and shooting just 32.4 percent from the field. That's a credit to the Pacers' defense, primarily Thaddeus Young.

With Cleveland facing elimination and James eligible for free agency this summer, speculation has already begun that Sunday could be the four-time MVP's final game with the Cavs.

On the other side, Indiana — almost universally tabbed as a lottery team in preseason predictions — finds itself in position to, as Oladipo himself put it, "shock the world." In a season that has far exceeded outside expectations, the Pacers are on the verge of taking down the King.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Myles Turner
Cavaliers: PG - Jose Calderon, SG - JR Smith, SF - Kyle Korver, PF - LeBron James, C - Kevin Love

Injury Report

Pacers: None

Cavaliers: George Hill - questionable (back spasms)

Last Meeting

April 27, 2018: Not only did the Pacers stave off elimination, they thoroughly dominated the Cavs in a 121-87 Game 6 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana led by 10 points and halftime, then outscored Cleveland 35-20 in the third quarter to put the game away.

"We were better connected on both ends of the floor," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. "I thought the defense was connected. We were solid offensively. We moved the ball, attacked the basket and pretty much played that way for the 48 minutes."

Victor Oladipo led the way by recording the third playoff triple-double in Pacers NBA franchise history, but seven Pacers players finished in double figures in the win. All five starters scored at least 10 points, as did Domantas Sabonis (19 points and six rebounds) and Lance Stephenson (12 points and six assists off the bench).

LeBron James led Cleveland with 22 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. He did not play in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.

Noteworthy

  • Cavaliers point guard George Hill has missed the last three games of the series due to back spasms.
  • The Pacers have played a Game 7 eight times in NBA franchise history, going 3-5.
  • Sunday will be the first time LeBron James has face elimination in a first-round series in his career.

Tickets

Should the Pacers win Game 7 and advance to the second round, an on-sale time for second-round tickets will be announced shortly after the game. Sign Up for VIP Access to Playoff Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: ABC - Mike Breen (play-by-play), Jeff Van Gundy (analyst), Mark Jackson (analyst), Doris Burke (sideline reporter)
FOX Sports Indiana - Postgame show only with Jeremiah Johnson and Eddie Gill reporting from Cleveland and Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner hosting from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)


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