Pacers at Cavaliers (Preseason)

Pacers Set to Hit Road for First Time

Dec. 11, 2020 - Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren and forward Domantas Sabonis discuss the team's preseason opener on Saturday in Cleveland.

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Pacers Set to Hit Road for First Time

Dec. 11, 2020 - Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren and forward Domantas Sabonis discuss the team's preseason opener on Saturday in Cleveland.
Dec 11, 2020  |  01:59

Defense the Focus as Preseason Games Approach

Dec. 10, 2020 - Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and head coach Nate Bjorkgren share the team's goals entering their first preseason game on Saturday and discuss the emphasis on defense so far in training camp.
Dec 10, 2020  |  02:19

Oladipo Feeling and Looking Good in Camp

December 8, 2020: Victor Oladipo and Nate Bjorkgren discuss how Oladipo's training camp is going. Oladipo also shares his goals for the season.
Dec 8, 2020  |  01:38

Pacers Having an Upbeat Training Camp

December 5, 2020: Doug McDermott, T.J. McConnell and head coach Nate Bjorkgren discuss the atmosphere during this season's training camp.
Dec 5, 2020  |  01:57

Bitadze on Lessons from Rookie Year and Playing Pain Free

Dec. 10, 2020 - Pacers center Goga Bitadze reflects on his rookie season, shares how knee soreness impacted him last season, and looks forward to opening the preseason.
Dec 10, 2020  |  01:50

Martin Discusses Returning to Indy

December 7, 2020: Former Butler University star Kelan Martin discusses signing with the Pacers and coming back to the city where he played college basketball.
Dec 7, 2020  |  01:27

Turner is Excited for New Style of Play

December 3, 2020: Myles Turner talks about his offseason training regimen, team defense and his excitement to play in a new offense.
Dec 3, 2020  |  02:08

Jeremy Lamb on Rehab, Changes to Diet

Dec. 4, 2020 - Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb gives an update on his rehab and shares details about changes he has made to his diet in recent months.
Dec 4, 2020  |  01:57

Game Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers (Preseason)

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 at 7:00 PM ET at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

The Nate Bjorkgren era begins on Saturday night, when the Pacers take the court for the first of two preseason games in Cleveland against Kevin Love and the Cavaliers. The Blue & Gold have had barely a week of practice before their first exhibition, but first-year coach Bjorkgren has begun implementing his new system in the early days of training camp.

The Pacers will be a work in progress throughout the preseason and likely into the regular season, but Saturday's preseason contest should provide a first look at Bjorkgren's preferred style of play.

Offensively, expect the Pacers to play faster and hoist more 3-pointers than they did a year ago, when they ranked last in the NBA in 3-point attempts.

Bjorkgren has actually spent more time on defense in the early days of practice. He wants his teams to play a disruptive, aggressive style with more frequent switching than Indiana did in years past.

Bjorkgren has promoted competition in training camp, saying he has not settled on a starting lineup or rotation. Presumptive starter T.J. Warren is out with plantar fasciitis and could miss the start of the regular season. Bjorkgren said Thursday he wants to use preseason games to look at different combinations of players to see what he likes as the season opener on Dec. 23 quickly approaches.

While Cleveland is not considered a preseason contender in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers have a solid starting lineup featuring a promising young backcourt and a veteran frontcourt. Guards Darius Garland and Collin Sexton were the Cavaliers' top draft picks in 2019 and 2018, respectively, and their development is key to Cleveland's chances of returning to the postseason. But big men Love and Andre Drummond are currently Cleveland's top two players.

Drummond in particular has given the Pacers problems in the past. The 6-11 center averaged 23.4 points and 17.8 rebounds in five games against Indiana last season (four with Detroit and one more with the Cavaliers after he was traded to Cleveland).

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Aaron Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Cavaliers: PG - Darius Garland, SG - Matthew Dellavedova, SF - Isaac Okoro, PF - Kevin Love, C - Andre Drummond

Injury Report

Pacers: JaKarr Sampson - questionable (sore lower back), Goga Bitadze - doubtful (right ankle sprain), Brian Bowen II - out (partial groin tear), Amida Brimah - out (not with team), Jeremy Lamb - out (torn left ACL), T.J. Warren - out (right foot plantar fasciitis)

Cavaliers: Charles Matthews - out (right knee soreness), JaVale McGee - out (not with team), Kevin Porter Jr. - out (personal reasons), Collin Sexton - out (right ankle sprain)

Last Meeting

Feb. 29, 2020: The Pacers opened up a five-game road trip on the right foot with a 113-104 win in Cleveland.

T.J. Warren led the way with 30 points on 14-of-20 shooting and six assists, but he was far from the only productive Pacer in the victory. Malcolm Brogdon had 22 points and eight assists, Victor Oladipo had a season-high 19 points, and Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner both recorded double-doubles.

"We have a lot of weapons," Warren said. "A lot of guys that can play-make, score, and just make stuff happen at the right time for us. We're going to continue building that chemistry."

Andre Drummond led Cleveland with 27 points and 13 rebounds, while also tallying four assists and four blocks. Kevin Love added 20 points, 12 boards, and seven assists in the loss.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers are 8-3 against the Cavaliers in the regular season over the last three years and have won the season series with Cleveland in each of those seasons.
  • Indiana and Cleveland are scheduled to meet twice in the first half of the 2020-21 regular season. The two teams will face off on Dec. 31 in Indianapolis and on March 3 in Cleveland.
  • Cavaliers guard/forward Dylan Windler is an Indianapolis native who attended Perry Meridian High School.

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)





by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

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