Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs Cavaliers
SCOUTING THE PACERS: The Pacers (18-27) won their first gameunder Frank Vogel, beating Toronto 104-93 on Monday. Team president Larry Bird questioned former coach Jim O'Brien's use of Indiana's young talent, and Vogel quickly showed he plans on using a different approach. Third-year center Roy Hibbert, who scored two points in a loss to Chicago on Saturday in O'Brien's final contest, had 24 points and 11 rebounds against the Raptors. It was his highest point total since scoring 24 on Nov. 28. Rookie Paul George had 16 points, and second-year forward Tyler Hansbrough returned and scored 14 after missing the previous two games with pneumonia. Danny Granger was held to 11 points on 3-for-15 shooting, but he's averaged 29.3 points in the three victories over Cleveland this season. Granger scored 30 in a 108-99 win Dec. 17, the teams' last meeting. The Pacers have beaten the Cavaliers four straight times after losing 13 of the previous 14 matchups.
SCOUTING THE CAVALIERS: Cleveland looks to avoid taking another step toward NBA records for futility. The Cavaliers (8-40) were the first team to 40 wins in 2009-10 with LeBron James on his way to his second straight NBA MVP award. This season, they were the first to 40 losses after James and Miami dealt them a 117-90 defeat Monday. Cleveland has lost 31 of 32 and 21 straight - the longest skid since the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets matched the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies for the single-season record of 23 straight losses. Cleveland dropped a league-record 24 in a row over two seasons from March-November 1982. Antawn Jamison had 21 points and 10 rebounds against Miami, and Manny Harris scored 20 points for the second straight game. James pulled Harris aside following the game to compliment him on his performance. Mo Williams sat out his eighth straight game with a strained left hip flexor and is expected to miss at least another week. That doesn't bode well for Cleveland against an Indiana team that has beaten the Cavs three times this season.
INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Brandon Rush (sprained right ankle) is out. For the Cavs, Daniel Gibson (left quad contusion), Leon Powe (right knee surgery), Anderson Varejao (right ankle/foot), and Mo Williams (left hip flexor strain) are out.
BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Clark Kellogg calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 6:30. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee reporting.