NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 31st (All times Eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (10-20) at Indiana Pacers (24-5), 3 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers are headed in opposite directions and the Central Division foes will square off Tuesday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana has a 24-5 record and is 14-1 at home, while the 10-20 Cavaliers sport a 2-13 ledger outside of Quicken Loans Arena.
The East-leading Pacers have won four in a row and won back-to-back meetings with the Brooklyn Nets, including Saturday's 105-91 victory at home. After a four-day rest, Paul George scored 24 points and Lance Stephenson compiled 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
"Sometimes you get away from playing under control," George said. "In the second half we brought the energy but we understood what we needed to do."
George Hill added 21 points for Indiana, which shot 53.5 percent for the game and used a 14-4 run for a 58-56 lead at halftime. The Pacers also connected on 21-of-25 shots from the foul line.
Roy Hibbert finished with 11 points and David West posted a 10-point, seven- rebound and six-assist performance.
During this four-game winning streak for Indiana, George is averaging 24.5 points per game and has shot 57.4 percent from the floor. He is also making 44.4 percent of his 3-point attempts.
After hosting the Cavs, Indiana, which has won three in a row at home, will head north of the border for a showdown with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
Cleveland is riding a five-game losing streak and has dropped seven of its last eight games. It is coming off a tough 108-104 overtime loss at home to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, as the Warriors rallied from 17 points down to spoil the show.
Kyrie Irving tallied 27 points and nine assists, while Tristan Thompson added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have lost six in a row to the Warriors and made 41.3 percent from the field. The Cavs, though, sank 62.5 percent from 3-point range, making 10-of-16 shots beyond the arc, and saw a 104-102 lead evaporate with less than three minutes to go.
"As the game went along we thought we were getting a little tired," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "We did not have the same pop or pace that we had in the first half."
C.J. Miles also scored 17 points and Jarrett Jack added 12 off the bench.
The Cavaliers have shot well lately even though it hasn't reflected in the win column. They are averaging 106.0 points per game in the last 10 games, scoring 100 or more points eight times in that stretch.
Irving has scored 20 points or more in nine of the last 11 games, posting an average of 27.7 ppg in that span. Thompson is averaging a double-double with 13.7 points and 10.1 rebounds in his past 14 contests for the Cavaliers, who will play three of four games at home after Tuesday's tilt in Indiana.
The Pacers handed the Cavs an 89-74 defeat back on Nov. 2 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and have won seven straight, 13 of 14 and 14 of the previous 19 matchups in this Central Division series.
Cleveland is winless in its last seven games at Indiana.
12/31 10:25:48 ET