Pacers vs Cavaliers

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Pacers Preparing for Cavs Matchup

January 11, 2018 - After practice on Thursday, the Pacers talked about prepping for Friday's Cleveland matchup, and what led to success in their first two meetings with the Cavs.

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Pacers Preparing for Cavs Matchup

January 11, 2018 - After practice on Thursday, the Pacers talked about prepping for Friday's Cleveland matchup, and what led to success in their first two meetings with the Cavs.
Jan 11, 2018  |  01:37

Game Preview: Pacers vs Cavaliers

Friday, January 12, 2018 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Last Updated: Jan. 12 at 2:30 PM ET

Matchup

After dropping a game on Wednesday, the Pacers (21-20) will look to close out their four-game homestand on a winning note on Friday, when they host LeBron James and the three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers (26-15) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

In wins over Chicago and Milwaukee earlier in the week, the Pacers dominated the game from the opening tip, building 27-point leads in the first half of both victories. But the script flipped on Wednesday against the Miami Heat, who outscored the Pacers 38-26 in the first quarter. The Blue & Gold clawed their way back, briefly tying the game in the fourth quarter, but never took the lead over the rest of the game and ultimately fell, 114-106.

Indiana particularly struggled from beyond the 3-point arc on Wednesday. The Pacers entered the night second in the NBA in 3-point percentage at .384, but went just 1-for-18 from long distance against the Heat.

On Friday, the Pacers will again be without starting center Myles Turner, who will miss his second straight game with an injured right elbow. Fellow 21-year-old Domantas Sabonis performed admirably in his absence on Wednesday, racking up 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting and seven rebounds, but the Pacers definitely miss Turner's interior defense and rim protection, neither of which are strengths for either Sabonis or veteran big man Al Jefferson, pressed into the rotation due to Turner's injury.

The Cavaliers will conclude a grueling stretch of the schedule on Friday. After dropping all three stops in a Western Conference road trip, Cleveland played just one game back in the friendly confines of Quicken Loans Arena before hitting the road for another five-game trip. They won in Orlando, but have dropped games in Boston, Minnesota, and Toronto on Thursday night in Toronto.

The positive news for Cleveland in that stretch has been the debut of point guard Isaiah Thomas. The two-time All-Star, acquired from the Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade, played his first game on Jan. 2 after rehabbing from a hip injury. The Cavs are still monitoring Thomas' minutes as they ease him back into the lineup, and he will not play on Friday on the second night of a back-to-back.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Domantas Sabonis
Cavaliers: PG - Jose Calderon, SG - J.R. Smith, SF - LeBron James, PF - Jae Crowder, C - Kevin Love

Injury Report

Pacers: Myles Turner - out (sore right elbow), Glenn Robinson III - out (left ankle surgery rehabilitation), Edmond Sumner - out (left knee surgery rehabilitation)

Cavaliers: Isaiah Thomas - out (right hip), Derrick Rose - out (left ankle sprain), Iman Shumpert - out (left knee arthroscopic surgery)

Coors Cold Hard Fact

The Pacers hold the largest win margin in the head-to-head matchup with the Cavs with a 48-point victory. On December 10, 1999 the Pacers defeated the Cavs 136-88 at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Last Meeting

December 8, 2017: The Pacers held the Cavaliers to just 16 points in the fourth quarter on their way to a 106-102 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Victor Oladipo led all scorers with 33 points, going 11-for-24 from the field and 6-for-13 from 3-point range, while also tallying eight rebounds and five assists.

"He's been playing with a great deal of confidence and tonight was no different," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said of Oladipo's performance. "...He's still learning about what he's capable of doing. And tonight was an example of us putting the ball in his hands in the fourth quarter, late in the game and then he has to make the reads as far as if he has an advantage, creating opportunities for us and he was able to do that."

Myles Turner added 15 points and seven rebounds, while Thaddeus Young chipped in 13 points and seven boards for Indiana.

LeBron James led the Cavs with 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Kevin Love finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.

Noteworthy

  • With a win either on Friday or on Jan. 26 in Cleveland, the Pacers would win the regular season series with the Cavaliers for the first time since LeBron James returned to Cleveland in the summer of 2014.
  • Indiana holds a narrow 96-95 advantage in the all-time series with the Cavs, including a 60-34 record at home.
  • Pacers point guard Darren Collison and Cavaliers center Kevin Love were teammates at UCLA during the 2007-08 season, where they helped lead the Bruins to a Final Four appearance.

Tickets

Limited seats remain for Friday's game against LeBron James and the Cavs. Secure Your Seats »

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 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.

Pacers Team Store Game Night Special

Hat and T-Shirt Combo - $25. The Game Night Special can be purchased at the Pacers Team Store on game day, as well as online from 10:00 AM-Midnight. Order Online »