Saturday, October 19th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ET at Quicken Loans Arena
Preseason Game Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers
Scott Agness | October 18, 2013
Fresh off a game in Chicago against the Bulls, a division rival, the Pacers are back at it Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers (3-1 in preseason). The team has face a strenuous preseason schedule, between their pair of games in Asia and now four consecutive road games in the preseason, including this back-to-back. As a result, the coaching staff is being cautious with their practice schedule and how they use guys.
Last season, the Pacers swept the Cavaliers and they even won their lone preseason meeting. The Cavaliers have since brought back Mike Brown as head coach. They had the No. 1 pick in June’s draft, where they selected Anthony Bennett out of UNLV, and then later picked Sergey Karasev at 19. They signed ex-Pacer Jarrett Jack, along with forward Earl Clark in free agency. And they decided take a chance with injury-riddled big man Andrew Bynum, who hasn’t yet returned to the floor.
Washington, Indiana native Tyler Zeller won’t be in uniform on Saturday night. He was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and had his appendix removed eight days ago. The Cavaliers are always dangerous with the crafty Kyrie Irving, who was a first-time All-Star last season, running the show. In 59 games last year, he averaged 22.5 points, 5.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. Irving always proves to be a tough cover.
Indiana also won't forget forward C.J. Miles, who had great showings against the Pacers last season. He scored 28 points, which tied his season-high, on Dec. 12 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
For the Pacers, this will be the last designated game for bench players to get heavy minutes. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said earlier this week that he intends to treat the final two preseason contests (mostly) like regular season games. There are 13 players with guaranteed contracts. Rasual Butler and Hilton Armstrong, meanwhile, are still trying to earn their way on the roster.
Paul George is still dealing with bronchitis so it wouldn’t be surprising for him to sit this one out after playing in Chicago on Friday. Danny Granger, who strained his left calf on Wednesday, is another player that will likely have the night off.
There’s still plenty for the team to work on, most notably their offensive sets (especially the new guys, who are still learning the Pacers' system), transition defense and communication. With a lot of new pieces in place, everyone is still trying to get comfortable with each other.
Pacers: Danny Granger (day-to-day, strained left calf), Paul George (day-to-day, bronchitis)
Cavaliers: Dion Waiters (questionable, right hip contusion), C.J. Miles (doubtful, sore left leg); Andrew Bynum (right knee surgery), Carrick Felix (mild sports hernia), Jarrett Jack (left knee chondromalacia), and Tyler Zeller (appendectomy) are all out.
“We really focused on coming into our own when the regular season starts. These last 4 games we want to get back to Pacer basketball. We share the ball and trust each other. We want to make the easy passes and be ready to shoot. It is not mandatory to win right now. It doesn’t mean anything. As long as we get ready for the regular season, we will be fine.” – George Hill
- The Pacers have beaten the Cavaliers six straight times.
- Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller all played with Paul George at USA Basketball’s National Team mini-camp in July in Las Vegas.
April 9: The Pacers’ 99-94 win was the lone bright spot – and win – during a six-game stretch. For much of the game, things weren’t going well at all. The Pacers trailed by as many as 20. With 2:05 remaining in the third quarter, and down 15, Frank Vogel knew he needed to change the game, so when he didn’t like a call, he got ejected. The hope was to inject some life into his team and it sure did. They outscored the Cavaliers 35-10 over the final 12 minutes in their epic comeback.
David West finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Zeller scored 18 for Cleveland before he fouled out after 30 minutes. It was the second-largest deficit the Pacers overcame last season, and they outscored the Cavaliers in transition, 33-7.
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