GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Pacers
The Cleveland Cavaliers (5-22) return to Quicken Loans Arena to face the Indiana Pacers (14-12) for the second of four regular season matchups.
Both teams last played on Wednesday night as the Cavaliers fell to the Boston Celtics on the road and the Pacers knocked off the Utah Jazz at home.
Kyrie Irving notched a team-high 22 points on 9-17 (.529) shooting, four rebounds and two steals in 37 minutes against the Celtics. This season, Irving has scored at least 20-or-more points in 12 of his 16 contests and is averaging a team-leading 23.6 points and 5.5 assists in 35.4 minutes per game.
In their victory against the Jazz, the Pacers had three players score 20+ as reserve Gerald Green bucketed a team-high 21 points while starters George Hill and Paul George each contributed 20 points. On the season, Paul George is averaging career-highs in points (16.5) and (7.0) rebounds.
Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic
Cavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller
Pacers: PG - George Hill, SG - Lance Stephenson, SF - Paul George
PF - David West, C - Roy Hibbert
Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Right Knee Contusion, Game Time Decision), Daniel Gibson, (Right Ankle Sprain, Probable)
(Pacers) - Danny Granger (Sore Right Knee, Out), Roy Hibbert (Bruised Left Thigh, Probable), Lance Stephenson (Sprained Right Ankle, Probable)
*Subject to change
The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Pacers, 84-82, posting a 52-32 mark in games played at home with the Pacers tallying a 52-30 record in games played in their home arena. Cleveland has won 11 of the last 15 meetings against Indiana at The Q.
The two teams last squared off on Dec. 12 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse where C.J. Miles poured in a season-high tying 28 points, including connecting on 6-of-9 (.667) shots from deep, in 28 minutes.
Key to the Game/Key Matchup
Key to the Game
Push the Tempo
While Indiana’s defense has been rock solid in the early going, the offense has struggled to keep up. Indiana has averaged just 91.57 ppg and shot a mere 42 percent from the floor this season.
If the Cavaliers can continue to rebound the ball well and force turnovers leading to fastbreak opportunities, then they should be able to force the tempo of the game. The Pacers are just 4-9 this season when their opponent scores 90 points or more.
Tristan Thompson vs. David West
David West always seems to come up big against the Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson will be assigned the task of trying to contain the Pacers leading scorer. West has scored in double-figures in 17 consecutive games and is just 21 points shy of 10,000 in his NBA career.
In the Wine and Gold's last game, Tristan Thompson posted his 6th double-double of the season with 11 points, a game-high 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 38 minutes. Six of his 12 rebounds came on the offensive end of the floor where he is now averaging 3.5 offensive rebounds per game (5th-most in the Eastern Conference and 10th-most in the NBA).
Thompson will have to continue to remain active at both ends of the floor in hopes of wearing down and containing West. In doing so, Thompson can give the Cavaliers a huge advantage.
Where to Catch the Action