NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Indiana Pacers Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

The second week of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament gets underway with this Eastern Conference showdown between the 3 seed and the 14 seed. It features what would logically be a mismatch based on the teams' respective seasons, but with a high-risk/high-reward Indiana trio taking the floor it could prove difficult to predict.

Indy Cornrows has chosen a team of wings to represent the Pacers with Danny Granger, Paul George and Lance Stephenson. That will produce mismatches both ways that might help the Pacers or hurt them. Stephenson, who has barely found any playing time in two seasons in Indianapolis so far, is the real surprise here, but certainly adds athleticism and some playground attitude to what is traditionally a playground game. As it happens, the Pacers have the easiest path to the Conference Semifinals of any team in the tournament, grouped as they are with Cleveland, Orlando and Detroit, so it may be awhile before we find out if Stephenson is a good choice.

The underdog in this series, the Cleveland Cavaliers, do have the very talented 2012 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving to lead their team along with Anderson Varejao and rookie Dion Waiters. But are we really imagining a 3 on 3 game supposedly made up of the best players from NBA rosters that features Lance Stephenson and Dion Waiters? That doesn't feel quite right.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Indiana wins 13 out of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Indiana wins 14 out of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Indiana wins 11 out of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Indiana wins 14 out of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Indiana wins 16 out of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Indiana 68 percent; Cleveland 32 percent

Expert Comments:

I almost picked Cleveland solely out of anger that Indy Cornrows left Roy Hibbert off the team for a nominal playmaker. (Free George Hill, at least!) But Granger and George are too good in this round. It'll be a short tournament for Indiana, I fear. -- Ziller

How did Lance Stephenson get chosen as part of Indiana's trio? If Cleveland had taken Harrison Barnes maybe we could've picked the upset here, but alas. Dion Waiters as a top five pick is even more amazing than Stephenson on the Pacers, so Indy takes care of business. -- Sharp

I'm less than impressed with both of these teams, but can't quite bring myself to pick the upset. Cleveland's offense is going to consist of all Irving all the time, which might actually be enough in 3 on 3 where he'll be tough to contain, but Indy has a slight edge overall. -- Perrin

Irving is the best player on the court and Indy doesn't have anybody who can really stop him. That alone is worth 1/3. -- Clark

Kyrie gets the Cavs a few W's, but they've got no answer for the inside/outside play of Danny Granger. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

It's a less than enthusiastic consensus that Indiana has the advantage here, with the panel giving the Pacers trio a 68 percent chance of winning any single game with the Cavs threesome.

The actual outcomes remains random as you recall, determined by a roll of percentile dice. Pacers fans want to see a roll of 68 or lower, Cavs fans want 69 or higher.

Leave a comment about who you think will win this series.

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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