Pacers-Cavaliers Preview

Over the previous five seasons, the Indiana Pacers struggled

against the Cleveland Cavaliers, especially at Quicken Loans

Arena.

However, the Cavaliers will try to avoid their longest home

losing streak in nearly eight years Saturday night when they meet

the Pacers for the first time this season.

The Pacers (3-4) have dropped 16 of 19 to the Cavaliers dating

back to Dec. 23, 2005, and had lost 10 straight in Cleveland until

a 116-113 victory April 9.

Indiana might have a good chance for another win in its return

to Cleveland as the Pacers won’t have to face LeBron James, who has

averaged 29.4 points in his last 16 games against them, but now

plays for Miami.

Instead, the Pacers will take on a Cavaliers team that hasn’t

lost four in a row in Cleveland since March 2-11, 2003. Heading

into this campaign, the Cavaliers were 74-8 at home over the

previous two seasons.

After a perfect three-game road trip, the Cavaliers (4-4)

couldn’t complete a home-and-home sweep of New Jersey on Wednesday.

They scored 35 points in the second half of a 95-87 loss.

While it’s scored at least 93 points in three consecutive road

victories, Cleveland hasn’t topped 88 in its past two home

games.

“When we’re on the road, it’s a little bit more of that

‘us-against-the-world’ attitude, and we go out there and we’re a

little more free and we play with that type of attitude,”

first-year coach Byron Scott told the Cavaliers’ official website.

“But when we’re at home, we probably put too much pressure on

ourselves to go out there and perform.

“We just need to relax and play the way we know we’re capable of

playing.”

Even worse for the Cavaliers, they may have lost starters Mo

Williams and Anderson Varejao to injuries during the loss to the

Nets.

After sitting most of training camp and the season’s first three

games after hurting his right groin, Williams hurt his left side

late in the third quarter.

“These injuries are tricky,” Williams said. “We’ll attack this

right away and we’ll do whatever it takes to get back on the

court.”

Varejao went to the locker room with bruised ribs in the first

quarter, but later returned. He and Williams are game-time

decisions after neither player practiced Friday.

Williams is second on the team with an average of 14.6 points

per game. Varejao is the Cavs’ leading rebounder with 9.4 per

contest.

The Pacers head into this matchup having dropped three of four,

and couldn’t build off a record-setting performance while dropping

a 102-99 decision to Houston on Friday.

Indiana scored a franchise-best 54 points in the third quarter

and made 20 of 21 shots during a 144-113 win over Denver on

Tuesday. The Pacers didn’t top 28 in any period against the

Rockets.

“We never got into our tempo or our rhythm,” guard Mike Dunleavy

said. “We had a lot of breakdowns on both sides of the ball.”

Roy Hibbert led Indiana with 18 points and Danny Granger added

17.

Granger, who leads the Pacers in scoring (20.4 ppg) this season,

was 14 of 14 from the free-throw line and scored 36 during

Indiana’s win at Cleveland in April.