Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers: Preview against the Cleveland Cavaliers

On Friday Dec. 8, the Indiana Pacers will host the Cleveland Cavaliers at Bankers Life Stadium in Indianapolis.  This game will be the second of four times these two teams see each other in the regular season.  The Pacers won the first matchup this season in Cleveland on Nov. 1 with a score 124-107.  After that game, the Cavs were on a small four game losing streak.  They are currently on a 13 game winning streak and they will be coming into Indianapolis with an appetite for revenge.

In the last game between these two teams, the Pacers torched the Cavaliers from behind the arc by posting a three-point field goal percentage of 61.5% compared to the Cavs’ 22.6%.  The Indiana squad more than doubled the amount of made three-point field goals by making 16 to the Cavs’ seven.  The Pacers also held a large advantage in the assist column that night while dishing out 35 assists compared to the Cavs’ 25.  This was a huge factor as to why the Pacers came out on top with a double digit lead.  In the last game, three Pacers players finished with over 20 points and they were Thaddeus Young (26), Darren Collison (25, and Victor Oladipo (23).  Only one player on the Cavaliers scored more than 20 points and that was LeBron James with 33.

Dec 6, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) high fives with forward Damein Wilkins (12) after a play against the Chicago Bulls. Photo By: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In the previous matchup, C Tristan Thompson left the game for the Cavs with a calf ailment and was not able to return to the game.  He remains out in this contest, but he is close to returning to NBA action.  Point guards Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas are also listed on the injury report for the Cavaliers.  Rose is in a rehabilitation process with his ankle while Thomas is going through the final steps of his recovery from an injured hip.  The official injury report for the Pacers shows C Myles Turner and SG Cory Joseph listed as day-to-day.  Turner is questionable for the game due to soreness in his right calf and Joseph is listed as questionable due to an injured shoulder.  Joseph has been reported with this injury before, but played through it in a contest on Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls.

The past ten games have been fairly decent for the Pacers.  They have gone 7-3 and their steals per game have been above-average with eight steals.  That is one better than the Cavs’ 6.9 steals over the last ten games.  Also over the past ten games, the Pacers have posted 108 points per game, which is one more than what the Cavs have allowed.  Even though the Cavs have been allowing 107 points per game, they have been scoring 111 points on average over the past ten games.  That number is four more points that what the Pacers have been allowing at 107 points per game.  Statistically, this game looks like it will be a high scoring affair between the two teams.

Nov 1, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23). Photo By: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

In order for the Pacers to stop the Cleveland winning streak, they will need to do their best to shut down LeBron James.  He has gotten off to a sizzling hot start for December by averaging 29.7 points in three contests.  The Pacers can help this effort by putting a strong perimeter defender on James in hopes of keeping him out of the paint and contesting his three-point shots.  The Pacers’ defense will need to play tough and do their best to keep the ball out of LeBron’s hands.  For the Pacers, Lance Stephenson has been a part of some highlight reel moments in the past two weeks with some deluxe crossovers and finishes at the rim.  It will be exciting to see these two players on the court again and they should impress with their unpredictable playmaking skills.

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