The Pacers come to Cleveland to Take on the Cavs: Preview


Matchup: Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

When: 7:30 ET, Fox Sports Ohio


Indiana Pacers (Depth Chart):

PG: Donald Sloan, C.J. Watson, George Hill

SG: Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Miles

SF: Solomon Hill, Chris Copeland

PF: David West, Luis Scola, Lavoy Allen, Damjan Rudez

C: Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi, Shayne Whittington


Cleveland Cavaliers (Depth Chart):

PG: Kyrie Irving, Will Cherry

SG: Shawn Marion, Dion Waiters, Joe Harris

SF: LeBron James, Mike Miller, James Jones

PF: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Lou Amundson

C: Anderson Varejao, Brendan Haywood, Alex Kirk


Key Matchup/s: Indiana Bigs vs. Cleveland Bigs


After dominating the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards at home the Cleveland Cavaliers (7-7) look to win their 3rd straight game against the injured and depleted Indiana Pacers (7-9). During the past two games, the Cleveland Cavaliers have finally shown us the potential that we all imagined when this team was first assembled. Even though the Pacers are a weakened roster, the Cavaliers still need to execute and continue to improve on each end of the floor. They have created a team-first mentality over the last two games and look to continue more of that momentum at home as they take on the Pacers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have figured out a system (as of now) that has brought them success over the last couple of games. LeBron James has taken control of the ball handling duties while the starters are on the floor and it is making the difference. The Cavaliers have averaged 109 points per game in the last few contests and LeBron James is averaging nearly a triple-double over that span. LeBron is focusing on getting to the rim which leads to a ton of opportunities at the line and it opens up shooting lanes for everyone else. With LeBron leading the way, the ball movement has picked up and everyone is getting involved on the offensive end of the floor. Another key to the Cavs recent success has been the play of Anderson Varejao. Varejao has been a energy boost for the Cavs, whether he is connected with LeBron on the pick and roll, or hitting that newly found jump shot. The improvement on the offensive side of the floor has lead to a more aggressive approach on the defensive end of the floor. The Cavaliers have jumped into the top 15 in points allowed per game in the league because of their bump in aggression and intensity. Simply put, the Cavs are showing more intensity and willingness to compete every possession on D and it is paying off.

Indiana Bigs vs. Cleveland Bigs: The Key Matchup. This is my key matchup because the bigs are going to make the difference in today’s game. Roy Hibbert, David West, Louis Scola and Ian Mahinmi vs. Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, Brendan Haywood. The rebounding could be the difference tonight. This season the Pacers are 2nd in the league in rebounds per game with 46, whereas the Cavs are 23rd in the league with about 40 rebounds per game. Look for the Cavs to be boxing out harder than usual, as they are undersized and simply don’t have the depth. Pure aggression is the only way to beat Indiana down low. Another key element to this game goes hand and hand with rebound; interior defense. The Cavalier bigs, mostly Kevin Love, have struggled with their post defense this season and if they are not aggressive down low, the Pacers will take advantage of their lack of size and destroy them in the paint.

The Cavaliers need to limit turnovers on the offensive end and keep up the intensity up on the defensive end. The Pacers are a physical team down low and will look to take advantage because of their lack playmaking on the perimeter. The Cavaliers are the better, more talented team, they will win their third straight at the Q.

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