Pacers at Cavaliers

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Game Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers (Preseason)

Friday, October 6, 2017 at 7:30 PM ET at Quicken Loans Arena
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Last Updated: Oct. 6 at 11:00 AM

Matchup

It was just one game — and a preseason game at that — but the Pacers' performance on Wednesday night in Milwaukee should have fans excited for the 2017-18 season.

The new-look Pacers, with just five returning players, have raved all training camp about the quick-developing chemistry among their young and hungry core. It showed in a 104-86 win over the Bucks on Wednesday.

Though it was the first competitive game for a team with a host of new faces, the team looked in sync for much of the night, outscoring Milwaukee in each of the first three quarters.

Five players scored in double figures in the victory. Returning stars Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson led the way with 17 points apiece, but new additions like Victor Oladipo (15 points and four assists) and Darren Collison (10 points, five assists, and seven steals) also got in on the action.

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And even on a roster stockpiled with youth, arguably the biggest storyline out of Wednesday's win was the play of 37-year-old forward Damien Wilkins. The oldest player on the team by nearly five years, Wilkins put together a solid performance in 24 minutes off the bench, scoring 12 points (going 4-for-8 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3-point range) and pulling down four rebounds.

Wilkins last played in the NBA in 2013, but has kept in shape the past four seasons by playing in the G League and overseas. He does not have a guaranteed spot on the regular season roster, but with Glenn Robinson III out a couple months with a sprained ankle, there is an opening for Wilkins to contribute as a backup small forward.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan likes the experience and leadership Wilkins brings to the table, but has said he'll need to prove he can still play at a high level to stick on the roster. Judging by Wednesday's performance, Wilkins is definitely making a strong case to stay on for the regular season.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Myles Turner
Cavaliers: PG - Derrick Rose, SG - Dwyane Wade, SF - J.R. Smith, PF - Jae Crowder, C - Kevin Love

Injury Report

Pacers: Ike Anigbogu - questionable (right knee surgery rehabilitation), Trey McKinney-Jones - out (left shoulder rehabilitation), Glenn Robinson III - out (left high ankle sprain), Edmond Sumner - out (left knee surgery rehabilitation)

Cavaliers: LeBron James - out (left ankle), Isaiah Thomas - out (hip)

Last Meeting

April 23, 2017: The Cavaliers eliminated the Pacers in the first round of the 2017 playoffs with a 106-102 Game 4 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana actually rallied from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a 102-100 lead on Thaddeus Young's tip-in with 1:31 to play, but LeBron James responded with a 3-pointer on the other end and the Pacers did not score again the rest of the way.

Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 22 points, six rebounds, and three assists off the bench in the loss. Myles Turner added 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and nine rebounds.

James led all scorers with 33 points and 10 rebounds. Kyrie Irving chipped in 28 points to help the Cavs earn the series sweep.

Noteworthy

  • The all-time regular season series between the Pacers and Cavaliers is remarkably even, with Indiana winning 94 contests and Cleveland winning 95.
  • Indiana has lost seven consecutive regular season road games in Cleveland. The Pacers' last win at Quicken Loans Arena came on Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Pacers forward Thaddeus Young was traded from Philadelphia to Minnesota on Aug. 23, 2014 in the same three-team deal that also sent Kevin Love from Minnesota to Cleveland.

Tickets

The Pacers will tip off the 2017-18 regular season by hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Opening Night presented by Kroger on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: None
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)