Last Updated: Feb. 6 at 12:00 PM
After their best offensive performance of the season, the Pacers (18-32) face a major challenge on Friday night when LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers (31-20) visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana shot a blistering 59.7 percent from the field in Wednesday's 114-109 win over Detroit. Pacers head coach Frank Vogel changed up the starting lineup, putting George Hill back in at point guard and moving former sixth man C.J. Miles into the starting slot at small forward.
The first returns were very promising. The veteran quintet of Hill, Miles, Rodney Stuckey, David West, and Roy Hibbert combined for 73 points and shot 67.4 percent from the field. Meanwhile, point guard C.J. Watson anchored a solid bench unit by draining 4-of-6 attempts from 3-point range.
While the Pistons are one of the teams the Pacers are battling with for a playoff spot, Friday's opponent is a whole 'nother animal. With so many new pieces, the Cavs surprisingly sputtered out to a 19-20 record to start the season, but they've seemingly figured it out over the last month, reeling off 12 consecutive wins heading into Friday night.
LeBron James is once more a frontrunner for the MVP award. James is second in the NBA in scoring and was pheonmenal in January, averaging 29.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.3 assists while shooting 51 percent from the field.
Meanwhile, James' supporting cast has stepped up their games as well. Point guard Kyrie Irving has scored 37 or more points in four games in the last month, including a 55-point outburst with James sidelined in a win over Portland on Jan. 28. Perennial All-Star Kevin Love is averaging a double-double, while mid-season trade acquisitions Timofey Mozgov and J.R. Smith have been strong additions to the starting lineup.
Pacers: PG - George Hill, SG - Rodney Stuckey, SF - C.J. Miles, PF - David West, C - Roy Hibbert
Cavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - J.R. Smith, SF - LeBron James, PF - Kevin Love, C - Timofey Mozgov
Pacers: Paul George - out (rehabilitation, fractured right tibia/fibula), Lavoy Allen - out (sore right knee), Ian Mahinmi - out (sprained right ankle)
Cavaliers: Anderson Varejao - out (left Achilles tendon rupture)
Indiana has won eight straight games over the Cavaliers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
You Can Quote Me On That
"I just can't be overly aggressive with him. He's a guy that gets to the free throw line a lot. Just have to pick my spots, when to be aggressive, when not to be aggressive." -Solomon Hill on guarding LeBron James
"They've added length in the middle and they've added a shooter in J.R. Smith, a guy that can get hot any night. (Timofey) Mozgov is playing the best basketball we've probably seen (him play). He's a guy that they haven't had, or LeBron hasn't had (in a while), a rim protector or a guy he can throw the ball to down low." -Hill on how the Cavaliers' mid-season trades have made them better
"They're playing a much more aggressive defensive style (with) a lot of gambling. They have their rim protector now, Mozgov, behind them. They're being a lot more aggressive, so offensively we've got to take care of the basketball." -Frank Vogel on the Cavaliers
"I think we just took advantage of each other's strengths really well. We passed the ball well. George Hill did a good job of breaking the defense down (and) getting to the paint, looking for his own shots as well as trying to create things for others." -C.J. Miles on the keys to Wednesday's offensive outburst
When Did Donald Sloan Get Up Today?
Sloan was up bright and early for Friday's morning shootaround:
November 29, 2014: The Cavaliers got off to a fast start and then pulled away in the second half for a 109-97 win in Cleveland. The Cavs shot 53 percent from the field while holding the Pacers to a 39-percent clip.
David West, playing in just his second game of the season after recovering from an ankle injury, led Indiana with 14 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Solomon Hill added 13 points, while Chris Copeland added 11.
Kevin Love scored 22 of his game-high 28 points in the first half and also collected 10 rebounds. Kyrie Irving added 24 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. LeBron James chipped in 19 points and seven assists.
- Cleveland hasn't won at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since Jan. 29, 2010.
- Indiana leads the all-time series with the Cavs 90-84, including a 55-30 record at home.
- Pacers swingman C.J. Miles needs 22 points to reach 5,000 for his career. Shooting guard Rodney Stuckey needs 25 points to reach 7,000.
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5/1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Limited seats still remain for Wednesday's game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Reserve your seats now: Find Tickets »
Bankers Life Fieldhouse Improvements Underway
Starting the week of Feb. 2, concession stands located outside of Sections 5 and 14 on the Main Concourse and Sections 215 and 231 on the Balcony Level will be temporarily closed. Fans sitting in these sections are asked to please visit other nearby concession stands. More Info »
Home Court Gift Shop Game Night Special
Pacers Full Size Basketballs - $10. Game Night Specials can be purchased in the Home Court Gift Shop or any of our souvenir stands located on all levels of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Please shop online also at PacersGear.com.
Hoosier Lottery Night with the Pacers
The first 4,000 fans, 18 or older, to the game will receive a FREE lottery ticket courtesy of Hoosier Lottery.