Cavaliers Try to Reach the .500 Mark on Road as They Visit the Pacers
Posted Nov 24 2006 10:09AM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Cleveland Cavaliers are tied for the best record in the Eastern Conference despite having a losing record on the road. They will try to reach the .500 mark away from home when they visit the Indiana Pacers on Friday at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Cavaliers (8-4) share the conference's top record with the Orlando Magic, but only lead the Detroit Pistons by one game in the Central Division. Indiana is two games back.
Cleveland scored a season low and shot just 39.4 percent from the field in Wednesday night's 95-87 loss to Toronto. LeBron Jamesscored 30 points, but no other Cavalier had more than 12.
Cleveland rallied from an early 15-point deficit to hold a two-point lead after three quarters, but squandered it by missing the first eight shots of the fourth quarter and shooting 6-for-26 overall in the final period.
``We used a lot of energy coming back, and on the road it is difficult to get down like that,'' James said.
It was the second game in as many nights for the Cavaliers, who defeated Memphis 97-94 on Tuesday but wouldn't use the short turnaround as an excuse for the lackluster finish on Wednesday.
``I would hope that playing in a back-to-back had nothing to do with that loss,'' Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. ``I do not want to be an excuse team.''
This contest begins another back-to-back for the Cavs, who return home Saturday to face the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Cavaliers have scored 100 points just once in five road games this season, and more than 90 only twice as they have gone 2-3 away from home. Cleveland went 19-22 on the road last season.
Indiana (6-6), which is 3-2 at home, failed to win a third straight Wednesday, when it fell 96-91 at Orlando.
Jermaine O'Neal had 23 points and 11 rebounds to improve his season averages to 17.5 points and 9.5 boards per game. Swingman Stephen Jackson had 19 points, his third straight game in double figures.
Indiana shot 18-for-37 in the first half Wednesday, but was just 13-for-40 from the floor in the second half, hitting two of their first 11 shots in the fourth quarter.
``We played hard, we just didn't play enough,'' Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. ``We shot 40 percent. If we would have shot a couple percentage points higher and got rid of a couple turnovers, we would have been in a great position to win.''
Cleveland has won its last three games against Indiana, but has won just once in its last eight visits to Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Pacers embark on a season-long six-game road trip after this contest. Indiana plays at Toronto on Sunday before heading west for five games in a seven-day span.
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