GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Pacers

Dion Waiters
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold return to Quicken Loans Arena today where they will square off against the Indiana Pacers at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Coming into today’s game, Cleveland (29-45) has won three of their last four contests, which includes a 102-100 win in their most recent home game against the Toronto Raptors on March 25.

Cleveland has also won three straight games against Central Division foes.

Despite losing three of their last four games, Indiana (52-21) enters today's matchup boasting the best record in the Eastern Conference.

All-Star Paul George leads the Pacers attack averaging 21.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Jarrett Jack, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Spencer Hawes

Pacers: PG - George Hill, SG - Lance Stephenson, SF - Paul George
PF - David West, C - Roy Hibbert

Status Update: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Left patellar Stress Fracture, Out), Anthony Bennett, (Left Patellar Tendon Strain, Out), Kyrie Irving, (Left Biceps Strain, Out), Sergey Karasev, (Right Knee Patellar Tendonitis, Out), C.J. Miles, (Left Ankle Sprain, Out)

(Pacers) - Andrew Bynum, (Sore Right Knee, Out), C.J. Watson, (Right Hamstring Strain, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

In the two teams' last meeting on Jan. 5, Cleveland held a 49-42 rebounding edge over Indiana, including 16-10 on the offensive glass.

Cleveland is 82-90 all-time against Indiana including a 52-35 record while playing in their own arena (30-55 on the road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Ball Movement

Indiana has one of the best defenses in the entire league. With long, quick defenders on the perimeter and physical, big bodies clogging the paint, the Pacers make it difficult for teams to get good looks at the basket.

The Pacers lead the league in opponent's points per game at 91.7 and opponent field goal percentage at .417.

The Wine and Gold must share the basketball and utilize good ball movement to create open looks at the hoop.

Over the last seven games, the Cavs are averaging 24.7 assists. Cleveland has dished out at least 25 assists 14 times this season, with five of those coming in the last seven games.

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

Indiana has one of the most physical frontcourts in the entire league with power forward David West and Roy Hibbert. As a result, the Pacers do a tremendous job of controlling the paint at both ends of the floor.

Indiana is 1st in the NBA, only allowing 35.4 PPG in the paint and is 35-7 this season when outscoring its opponents in the paint.

Battling Hibbert and West in the paint will be Spencer Hawes and Anderson Varejao.

Hawes has nailed at least three three-pointers in eight of his 19 appearances with the Cavs. Against the Nets on Friday, Hawes connected on 3-of-3 shots from beyond the arc and finished with 16 points, five boards, two assists and two blocks in 22 minutes. On the season, he is the only 7-footer among the NBA’s Top 25 leaders in three-point percentage at .407 (17th). He is also the only player in the NBA with at least 75 three-pointers and 75 blocks this season (114 triples, 88 blocks).

Varejao pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds at Brooklyn on Friday, while also adding eight points and one steal in 29 minutes. With 497 career steals, Varejao is three steals away from becoming the 8th Cavs player to notch 500 steals. Over the last two contests, he is averaging 10.0 points and 14.5 rebounds in 30.5 minutes per game. Since March 16, Varejao has also grabbed at least 11 boards in five of the last eight contests, averaging 10.4 rebounds to go along with 9.1 points in 23.9 minutes over that stretch.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, WUAB 43, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 218

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.


  • Mascot Night, Fan Free Throws

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On Deck

After today's game, the Cavs will face the Magic in Orlando on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET.