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Game Preview: Pacers vs Cavaliers

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After making some major changes ahead of Thursday's trade deadline, the Pacers (19-37) will have a very different look when they take the floor on Friday night against Cleveland (34-21).

The Pacers made a blockbuster six-player deal with Sacramento on Tuesday, sending Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb to the Kings in exchange for Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson. The prize of the return was Haliburton, a 21-year-old guard who already has emerged as one of the best young playmakers in the NBA in just his second professional season.

Haliburton is averaging 14.3 points per game and is 11th in the NBA in assists (7.1 per contest). He is also shooting 41.3 percent from 3-point range after knocking down 40.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc as a rookie. The 12th overall pick in the NBA Draft, Haliburton figures to be a cornerstone in the Pacers' plans for the foreseeable future and there should be plenty of excitement for his Indiana debut on Friday.

The other additions also can be valuable contributors. Hield is one of the NBA's most prolific shooters. He's made 40 percent of his attempts from long range over his career and his 182 made threes this season, third-most in the league behind only Stephen Curry and Fred VanVleet. Thompson is an 11-year veteran who won a championship with Cleveland in 2016 and can help mentor the Pacers' young big men, Goga Bitadze and Isaiah Jackson.

Friday will also mark the return of Caris LeVert to Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Indiana traded LeVert, their second-leading scorer at 18.7 points per game, to the Cavaliers on Sunday for the expiring contract of Ricky Rubio and multiple draft picks. The schedule happened to have Cleveland visiting Indiana on Friday, so LeVert will be back in his old home in just his second game as a Cav. He had 11 points and two assists in 28 minutes off the bench in his debut with Cleveland on Wednesday.

Projected Starters

Keifer Sykes

Keifer Sykes

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Chris Duarte

Chris Duarte

Oshae Brissett

Oshae Brissett

Goga Bitadze

Goga Bitadze

Darius Garland

Darius Garland

Isaac Okoro

Isaac Okoro

Dean Wade

Dean Wade

Evan Mobley

Evan Mobley

Jarrett Allen

Jarrett Allen

Pacers: PG - Keifer Sykes, SG - Lance Stephenson, SF - Chris Duarte, PF - Oshae Brissett, C - Goga Bitadze
Cavaliers: PG - Darius Garland, SG - Isaac Okoro, SF - Dean Wade, PF - Evan Mobley, C - Jarrett Allen

Injury Report

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore right Achilles), Isaiah Jackson - questionable (right ankle sprain), Terry Taylor - questionable (non-COVID illness), T.J. McConnell - out (right wrist ligament surgery), Ricky Rubio - out (torn left ACL), Myles Turner - out (left foot stress reaction), T.J. Warren – out (left navicular fracture)

Cavaliers: Lauri Markkanen - out (right ankle sprain), Collin Sexton - out (left knee meniscal tear)

Last Meeting

Feb. 6, 2022: The Cavs opened the fourth quarter with a 19-0 run to surge ahead and beat the Pacers in Cleveland, 98-85. Cedi Osman scored 18 of his 22 points in the final frame to lead the Cavs to victory.

"We struggled to stop them in the fourth," Rick Carlisle said postgame. "They got in transition. They got it on the boards. (And) our good shots weren't going down that stretch where they went on a pretty substantial run."

Chris Duarte led Indiana with 22 points and five rebounds in the loss. Fellow rookie Duane Washington Jr. added 17 points off the bench.

Kevin Love tallied 19 points, seven boards, and five assists for the Cavs, while Jarrett Allen finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds, and two blocks.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won their last three home against Cleveland. The Cavaliers last won in Indianapolis on Dec. 18, 2018.
  • Haliburton will wear the number 0, Hield will wear 24, and Thompson will don 11 in their Pacer debuts.
  • If any of the new players starts on Friday, it will be the 27th different starting lineup the Blue & Gold have used this season.

Tickets

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhoouse to host Caris LeVert and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, Feb. 11 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)