Cavaliers-Pacers Preview

No team has more home wins than the Indiana Pacers, and no team

has fewer road wins than the Cleveland Cavaliers. So a meeting in

Indianapolis certainly seems to favor the Pacers, not to mention

the Cavaliers have been awful there in recent years.

Plus, Indiana has been dominating opponents lately and Cleveland

has been in a slump heading into these teams’ matchup Tuesday

night.

Indiana shares the league’s best home record with Oklahoma City

at 14-1 and is within a half-game of the Thunder for the top

overall record. Cleveland is tied with Philadelphia for the worst

road record at 2-13 and enters this game having lost seven straight

at Indianapolis, averaging 87.3 points on 38.9 percent

shooting.

The Pacers (24-5) have been very dominant defensively there this

season, surrendering an average of 84.4 points at home – 5.5 better

than any other team. They’re outscoring opponents by 14.3 per game

at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Their only home loss took place Dec. 16, 101-96 to Detroit, and

they lost 97-94 in Miami two nights later. Since then, Indiana has

won four in a row by an average of 22.7 points.

A key to the Pacers’ success is that they are unselfish. They

had at least 28 assists for the third time in four games Saturday

as all five starters scored in double figures in a 105-91 win over

visiting Brooklyn. Paul George led the way with 24 points, Lance

Stephenson added 23 with nine rebounds and George Hill scored

21.

“It’s actually fun playing with each other, knowing that nobody

cares who’s scoring the most points,” said Stephenson, who scored a

career-high 26 in the team’s previous game. “We’re just playing

together and making smart plays to get each other open.”

Stephenson had a game-high 22 points in an 89-74 home win over

the Cavaliers on Nov. 2 in the only matchup this season. Cleveland

shot 3 of 15 from 3-point range, still its worst performance of the

season, en route to its 13th loss in the past 14 meetings.

The Cavaliers (10-20) have lost five straight overall, though

the last three have been decided by a total of nine points. They

lost in double overtime to Atlanta on Thursday, by three in Boston

two nights later and 108-104 in overtime to Golden State on

Sunday.

“We feel like we’re right there,” coach Mike Brown said. “All of

these experiences are great for us to go through. You just hope you

can come out on the winning end in most of them, but I gotta give

our guys credit because they’re competing. They are competing. I

just gotta try to help them at the end of games, too.”

Among the issues for the Cavaliers is that a consistent second

scorer has not emerged behind Kyrie Irving, who has averaged 28.5

points over the last 10 games. Neither Dion Waiters nor Tristan

Thompson have seen their averages increase much over last

season.

Waiters has failed to reach double figures in four of his 10

games this month, and Thompson has not scored more than 10 in eight

of his last 17. While Waiters was held to eight points on 3-of-15

shooting Sunday, Thompson had 17 points and 12 rebounds but scored

only two in the game’s final 11 minutes.

“The last couple games, we’ve been in close games where it’s a

toss-up whether we win or lose,” Thompson said. “It’s been two

points or three points, so we’re getting close, but we obviously

want to win now.

“We have another opportunity against Indiana.”