Sports

4 players the Cleveland Cavaliers should target

4 players the Cleveland Cavaliers should target

That's usually a combination that equates to postseason success.In terms of point differential, the Cavs are 11th while Toronto ranks second, trailing the Golden State Warriors.Despite the Cavs' terrible stretch, ranking as the league's worst defense in the three games since Isaiah Thomas - who was supposed to lift the team to new heights - in the starting lineup, the Cavs don't seem too concerned. The Pacers rank 25th in the National Basketball Association with a free throw attempt (FTA) rate of 0.178, while Cleveland ranks first in FTA rate allowed (0.160).

Cleveland has a respectable 26-15 straight up (SU) record, but they have a hard time covering the spread (12-27-1 against the spread (ATS)). IN turned it over six times and was 6-of-22 shooting. Blake Griffin had 18 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in his return to the Clippers after missing two games with a concussion, and Montrezl Harrell scored a season-best 25 - including 16 in the second quarter when Los Angeles put up 43 points. The Cavaliers are 3-7-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings in IN, 4-12-1 ATS in the last 17 meetings and the underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings. If he were to average 20 points per game and play 70 games a season, he would need about five more seasons to eclipse Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record of 38,387 points. So when Irving witnessed a video of James laying into his Cavaliers teammates on Thursday night, it elicited an impulsive - or perhaps intentional - response from the Boston Celtics guard, which manifested itself in the form of an Instagram like.

In games where they allow less than 100 points, Cleveland is 10-1 and IN is 11-1.

The Indiana Pacers beat them for the third time this season, 97-95 on Friday night.

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IN ranks 13th in points in the paint per game (44.8) while Cleveland ranks 23rd in points allowed in the paint per game (46.4). The second victory snapped Cleveland's 13-game winning streak.

Apart from the superstar, it was one of the Cavaliers' worst shooting nights - just 38.2 per cent from the field and a mere 23.1 per cent from three-point territory.

Cleveland has won just two of its last eight games, and a youth movement is needed along with more defense for both inside and on the wing. He caught a desperation pass from Kevin Love inside of 1.4 seconds to go and fired a 3-pointer that hit the rim. The Cleveland Cavaliers are allowing 36.8 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 41.8 rebounds per game. Even Norman Powell had an encouraging performance with 14 points, six rebounds in 27 minutes. With these teams vying for the top spot, head-to-head wins and losses are important - especially if a tiebreak occurs at the end of the season.

The game never was in jeopardy after that point. After beginning the season 5-7, they rattled off an 18-1 stretch before falling into the current slump.


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