Another Cavs-Pacers instant classic on tap?

Another Pacers-Cavs instant classic on tap?

Despite the competitive fervor that surrounds every Cavaliers-Pacers meeting, one of the game’s best rivalries has been decidedly one-sided of late.

Frank Vogel’s squad possesses all sorts of motivation to change that tonight. The next chapter in a perennially interesting Eastern Conference story tips off at 7 p.m. ET, with Bankers Life Fieldhouse serving as the backdrop.

According to online sports book Bovada.lv, the host squad is a 1.5-point favorite in this spot. The over/under figure sits at 201.5.

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The Pacers’ marginal edge in the eyes of oddsmakers makes sense at first blush. After all, the Cavs have captured the last four battles in the series. LeBron James and company also happen to be riding a four-game winning streak that basically leaves Toronto in need of a miracle to wrestle the East’s top seed away from them.

Think back to Feb. 1, though, when Cleveland required overtime to snap its 10-game skid in Indy. James and Paul George traded buckets in a ferocious duel, culminating in a 111-106 triumph for the visitors.

There’s even more on the line here, of course. The Pacers moved one-half game ahead of Detroit for seventh place with the Pistons’ 107-89 defeat in Miami on Tuesday. Vogel’s troops want to build off an especially productive weekend, too, which featured back-to-back victories over the 76ers and Knicks.

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With nothing officially clinched, seed-wise, expect both sides to go full bore. Kyrie Irving, having successfully returned from a sprained ankle just 24 hours ago, could prove the deciding factor. The point guard boasts 47 points in his last two contests against Indiana and 54 in his past two in the Hoosier State.

WEDNESDAY NBA FREE PICK: CAVALIERS/PACERS UNDER 201.5 POINTS

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