Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 3:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers (24-5) vs Cavaliers (10-20)
Scott Agness | Updated: December 30, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.
Before ringing in the New Year, the Pacers wrap up 2013 with an afternoon contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pacers enjoyed having a few days off and getting rest at home over the last week, and this will be just their second game in eight days.
The Pacers (24-5) are back in a groove after dropping consecutive games a couple weeks ago. For them, it continues to be about maintaining their focus and taking each game with the utmost importance. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (10-20) have dropped seven of their last eight games, including five straight, and have won just two road games all season long.
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Kyrie Irving, who almost certainly will take part in his second All-Star game this coming February, leads the Cavs with 22.6 points and six assists per contest. He can beat teams in a variety of ways, and is particularly dangerous in the pick-and-roll game, off dribble hand-offs and on pin-downs. In nine of his last 11 games, Irving has tallied 20 points or more. He’s the face of the team, so if the Pacers can limit Irving, it typically drags Cleveland down.
On Saturday, the Cavaliers announced that center Andrew Bynum, whom they signed in the offseason, has been excused from all team activities indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. He played in 24 games with the team, but did not play in their Nov. 2 game in Indianapolis.
Although the wins have been lacking, the Cavaliers have scored over 100 points in eight of their last 10 games. Their previous three contests were decided by a total of nine points. The Cavs’ bench is the highest-scoring bunch in the Eastern Conference, and fourth in the league, worth over 40 points per game. Shooting guard C.J. Miles, who hit six 3s and poured in 28 points on the Pacers in their first meeting last year, is a guy the team didn’t forget about and one player to keep an eye on.
“It won’t feel too differently for us once we get in here and we’re into our normal pregame routine. … I’ve never played on the 31st and the 1st, so it’s a little bit of a different feel, different challenge around New Years. Two teams this week with Cleveland and Toronto that don’t have great records but are playing really good basketball right now.” – Frank Vogel
“I think our execution is coming. We’ve got a pretty stable rotation. Guys know when they’re coming in and coming out. We’ve got a good feel for what’s going to be run at various times and our guys are really selfless in sharing the basketball and it’s leading to better looks.” – Frank Vogel on his team averaging more than 25 assists over the last four games
“The difference is, Kyrie (Irving) plays off the ball a lot more than (Brooklyn point guard Deron) Williams did, so it’s going to be a little bit of a different challenge for George (Hill) or whoever is matched up on (Irving). Definitely Kyrie is the head of the snake.” – Frank Vogel
“I like it. This brings back the days where you play YMCA ball and the game is at 12 or 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s just what I’ve been used to since a kid so I’m looking forward to it. It’s cool to have a different feel here at the Fieldhouse.” – Paul George on the 3 p.m. tip
“It was good. Coach did get us a couple days to rest and get ready for what we’ve got coming against us and ahead of us. Things are going to get back hectic again so it was good that coach took advantage of it.” – Paul George on playing one game in a week
“It’s a very important game for us tomorrow afternoon. Dealing with one of the best point guards in the NBA, and a young, scrappy team. It’s going to take our best effort to get a win.” – David West
- Indiana has won 14 of its last 15 games over Cleveland, including the last seven.
- Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller all played with Paul George at USA Basketball’s National Team mini-camp last July in Las Vegas.
- Cavaliers coach Mike Brown’s son, Elijah, is a freshman on the Butler basketball team.
- Cavaliers guard Jarrett Jack averaged 13.1 points and 4.1 assists during the 2008-09 season with the Pacers.
- The Pacers assigned rookie Solomon Hill to the D-League on Sunday.
Nov. 2: In just the team’s third game of the season, the Pacers outscored the Cavaliers in every quarter and coasted to an 89-74 win. Paul George tallied 13 of the team’s 19 third-quarter points and then they were plus-8 in the final period. The team played it safe with George Hill’s injury, a sore left hip, and held him out.
George finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Lance Stephenson hit a career-high five 3-pointers and had 22 on the night. Dion Waiters led the Cavaliers with 17 points, all but two scored in the opening half. The Pacers gave up just six offensive boards and two second-chance points.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
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