Pacers at Cavaliers

Game Preview presented by Jiffy Lube

Game Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers

Friday, January 26, 2018 at 7:30 PM ET at Quicken Loans Arena
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Last Updated: Jan. 26 at 6:55 PM ET

Matchup

When the 2017-18 schedule first came out last August, not even the most ardent of Pacers fans would believe that Indiana would travel to Cleveland on Jan. 26 with a chance to sweep the regular season series against LeBron and the Cavs.

Yet that's exactly what is in play on Friday night, when the Pacers (26-22) visit Quicken Loans Arena for their fourth and final meeting of the regular season with their Central Division rivals. Not only do the Pacers already own three wins over the Cavs (winning in Cleveland on Nov. 1 and in Indianapolis on Dec. 8 and Jan. 12), but the two teams are trending in opposite directions.

The Pacers are rolling. Fresh off a 3-2 road trip, the Blue & Gold returned to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday and pummeled the Phoenix Suns, leading by as many as 38 points in a 116-101 victory.

Victor Oladipo, fresh off his first All-Star selection, led the way with a balanced performance, scoring 21 points on just 11 shots and dishing out nine assists. Second-year big man Domantas Sabonis, named to the Rising Stars game on Wednesday, added 19 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Veterans like Thaddeus Young (22 points on 10-of-13 shooting and three steals) and Bojan Bogdanovic (17 points, 3-of-5 from 3-point range) also made major contributions.

The Cavaliers (27-19), meanwhile, have scuffled significantly in recent weeks. Cleveland has dropped six of its last seven and 10 of its last 13 contests. Despite a series of reported team meetings to air out grievances, the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions have yet to regain their footing.

Though they remain in third place in the East, the Cavs have a slew of teams hot on their tails, including the Pacers. Rather remarkably, Indiana would move to just a game back of Cleveland for first place in the Central Division with a win on Friday.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Domantas Sabonis
Cavaliers: PG - Isaiah Thomas, SG - J.R. Smith, SF - LeBron James, PF - Kevin Love, C - Tristan Thompson

Injury Report

Pacers: TJ Leaf - out (sprained right ankle), Myles Turner - out (right elbow ligament sprain and muscle strain), Glenn Robinson III - out (left ankle surgery rehabilitation)

Cavaliers: Channing Frye - TBD (abdominal strain)

Last Meeting

January 12, 2018: After falling into a 22-point deficit after a dismal first quarter, Indiana mounted a magical rally against their long-time nemesis LeBron James and the Cavaliers, holding on for a dramatic 97-95 win.

The Pacers moved in front for good on Victor Oladipo's 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, then stopped LeBron James and the Cavs multiple times down the stretch to hang on for the win.

Darren Collison led five Pacers players in double figures with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Oladipo added 19 points, Thaddeus Young had 12 points and seven rebounds, while both Lance Stephenson (16 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists) and Domantas Sabonis (12 points and 15 boards) recorded double-doubles.

James led the Cavs with 27 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists. Kevin Love added 21 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers hold a narrow 97-95 lead in the all-time regular season series with the Cavs, but are just 36-61 in Cleveland.
  • Prior to their 124-107 win on Nov. 1 at Quicken Loans Arena, Indiana had dropped seven straight games at Cleveland.
  • The Blue & Gold last swept the season series with the Cavaliers in the 2012-13 season.
  • The Pacers have clinched the season series against a Cavaliers team with LeBron James for the first time since the 2004-05 season. James has spent two stints with the Cavs, playing in Cleveland from 2003-10 before departing for Miami for four seasons. He returned to the Cavs for the 2014-15 campaign.

Tickets

The Pacers return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 27 to host Aaron Gordon and the Orlando Magic at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

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 (studio host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.

Away Game Night Special

Center Court Mini Basketball - $10. Game Night Specials can be purchased online the day of each away game from 10:00 AM - Midnight. Order Online »