It’s taken over three years since the messy exit of LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers to become relevant again. But are they quite ready to muscle their way among the Eastern Conference elite?
Probably not quite yet, and even their initial mission to break into the top two in the Central Division might be a reach this season, especially if Andrew Bynum takes a while to re-acclimate to the NBA after a year out.
The former All Star has averaged just four points in 9.5 minutes in the Cavs opening two games and he was a non-factor in Friday’s loss at Charlotte.
Defeats to the league’s bottom feeders are the sort that Cleveland needs to avoid if they’re remove themselves from the Lottery pack. Victories over the likes of the Indiana Pacers, who they visit tonight, are the kind that might show the Cavs are closing the gap.
That seems a long shot with the Pacers unbeaten at home against their divisional rivals since 2010 in an overall 12-1 run. And Indiana have picked up where they left off last term, conceding an average of 88.5 points while taking victories in their opening two games. David West figures to be a tough match-up in limiting Tristan Thompson and although the Cavs may cover the handicap of +8.5, have a punt on going under the total points line of 188.5 of 1.91.
Another side looking to get out of the NBA’s basement are the New Orleans Pelicans and after an 0-2 start, they’ll surely hope to get off the mark when they host the Charlotte Bobcats. Anthony Davis has been sensational so far, averaging 23 points and 14.5 rebounds, and there are signs his combination with All Star Jrue Holliday could be a solid block to build around.
Their shooting has been patchy and their defence terrible, giving up 110 points to lowly Orlando yesterday. However, with Brendan Haywood out for the Bobcats and Al Jefferson a likely absentee, it opens the door for New Orleans to walk through. It figures to be a tight ugly contest with a tempting bet on going under the points line of 189.5, available at 1.91.
Go under the total points line of 188.5 of 1.91 in Indiana-Cleveland
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