Pacers at Cavaliers (Preseason)

Game Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers (Preseason)

Friday, October 8, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

The Pacers will continue their preseason schedule when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday night. This will be the final road contest of the Blue & Gold's preseason as they will round out the four-game schedule with home games against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Cavaliers next week.

Perhaps a similar setup will be in order for Indiana's second game. The squad's starters — minus Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren — could see extended minutes in the first half while the reserves may finish out the final 30 minutes. On Tuesday against the New York Knicks, the starters tapered off after a hot start, leading to a 67-55 halftime deficit. The hosts' first-half point total indicated to head coach Rick Carlisle that defense still needs to be a priority as the regular season draws near.

"Our focus needs to continue to be on defense," Carlisle said after the loss. "We have to play with a certain attitude on defense and I thought that tonight we came up short in that area on a lot of possessions...We've got to play with more edge."

The defense will get another opportunity to illustrate improvement against a young talented guard in Collin Sexton when they take on the Cavs. During the shortened 2020-21 NBA season, the former Alabama guard averaged 24.2 points over 60 games played — a career high. It's the second consecutive season the guard has posted an average of 20 points or more.

The Pacers' high-profile youngsters will most likely get more time to shine as well. Rookie Chris Duarte, who finished the last game with a team-high 15 points, will get another chance to showcase his skills to the coaching staff and prove he belongs in the rotation even when LeVert and Warren return to action. Isaiah Jackson will have the opportunity to clean up his miscues after committing three fouls in just 13 minutes of game time off the bench. He will need to learn to hone in his aggressive playstyle and use it to his advantage moving forward.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Jeremy Lamb, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Cavaliers: PG - Collin Sexton, SG - Darius Garland, SF - Isaac Okoro, PF - Evan Mobley, C - Jarrett Allen

Injury Report

Pacers: Keifer Sykes - questionable (right ankle sprain), Caris LeVert - out (sore lower back), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)

Cavaliers: None

Last Meeting

May 10, 2021: The Blue & Gold picked up a 111-102 win against the Cavs on the road in game 68 of the regular season. Indiana held off 25 and 22-point performances from Collin Sexton and Isaac Okoro thanks to a massive 25-point performance from Kelan Martin off the bench. Domantas Sabonis (21 points, 16 rebounds) and Caris LeVert (20 points, 10 assists) posted double-doubles to help aid in the win as well.

Tied at 91 midway through the fourth, the Pacers used a 9-1 run to break open the game and take the lead for good. Indiana outscored Cleveland 64-40 in the paint and limited Sexton to just 7-of-26 shooting from the floor. The win pushed the Blue & Gold into ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings and helped them secure a spot in the first-ever NBA Playoff Play-In series.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers announced the team acquired the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for guard Edmond Sumner and a conditional second-round pick on Wednesday. In a related move, they also signed Brad Wanamaker to a training camp deal.
  • The Pacers won all three regular-season meetings against the Cavs last year.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner and Cavs center Jarrett Allen both played at the University of Texas for one year before going to the NBA.

Tickets

The Pacers host Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat for Opening Night presented by Gainbridge on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 PM ET. Secure your seats today and help fill Gainbridge Fieldhouse to cheer on your Pacers. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: None
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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