GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Pacers
After a two-game, two-day road trip in Texas, the Cavs (22-44) are back at Quicken Loans Arena where they will play four of their next five games. Tonight, they face off with the Indiana Pacers (40-26) for the third of four regular season matchups. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Cleveland is coming off a high-scoring affair this past Saturday in San Antonio where they scored 113 points on .506 (43-85) shooting, including .467 (7-15) from deep. Since Feb. 2, the Cavs are averaging 102.6 points per game, which is the 2nd-highest in the East over that stretch.
Indiana comes into tonight's game having lost three out of their last four games, including a 98-91 loss to the Sixers in Philadelphia on Saturday.
In that game, All Star forward, Paul George, recorded his team-high 21st double-double of the season, scoring 18 points and hauling in a team-high 14 rebounds. George also recorded a team-high eight assists despite the loss.
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The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Pacers, 85-82, posting a 52-33 mark in games played at home with the Pacers tallying a 52-30 record in games played in their home arena. The Cavs are 11-5 in their last 16 matchups with the Pacers at The Q.
The last time these two Central Division rivals played against each other on Dec. 21 at The Q, six Cavs scored in double figures and Tristan Thompson posted his 7th double-double of the season with 12 points, a game-high 13 rebounds and two blocks in 34 minutes.
Key to the Game/Key Matchups
Push the Tempo
While Indiana’s defense has been rock solid all season, their offense has struggled to keep up. Indiana has averaged just 94.2 ppg and shot a mere 43.4 percent from the floor this season.
Defensively, Cleveland ranks 8th in the NBA in opponent turnovers per game at 15.5 and 7th in points off turnovers (17.7) this season. The Cavs forced the Pacers to turn over the ball 18 times, while converting their miscues into 26 points on Dec. 21.
If the Cavaliers can continue to force turnovers leading to fastbreak opportunities, then they should be able to force the tempo of the game. The Pacers are just 3-10 this season when their opponent scores 100 points or more.
Alonzo Gee vs. Paul George
As mentioned above, Paul George is an emerging superstar and can carry a team to victory in a number of different ways.
On the season, George is averaging a team-high 17.6 points while grabbing 7.9 rebounds (2nd on the team). The Pacers are 17-7 this season when George leads the Pacers in scoring.
Alonzo Gee is the Wine and Gold's best perimeter defender and will more than likely draw the assignment against George.
If Gee can contain George while holding him to at, or near, his season average, then it will increase the chances of the Cavaliers coming away with a victory.
Where to Catch the Action