Found March 17, 2013 on
The Indiana Pacers' normally stout defense has been subpar in the last two games.
They would seemingly have better luck against a Cleveland team playing without Kyrie Irving, but the Cavaliers are coming off one of their highest-scoring games of the season.
Trying to avoid a third straight loss, the Central Division-leading Pacers look to continue their recent dominance over the Cavaliers on Monday night in Cleveland.
A defense that ranks second in the league in points allowed at 90.0 per game has played a big role in Indiana's quest for its first division title since 2004. The Pacers are 28-6 when holding opponents to 90 or less, but 12-20 when they allow more.
One night after giving up 83 points over the final three quarters of a 99-93 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana (40-26) yielded 27 points over the final 12 minutes in Saturday's 98-91 defeat to Philadelphia. The Pacers let both opponents shoot 11 of 20 in the fourth quarter.
"We're hitting that point in the season. It's a grind," coach Frank Vogel said after his team's fourth loss in six games. "Guys have played all season a heck of a lot more minutes than they've ever played before. It seems we're a step slow in a lot of areas. We've got to grind through it. It's a concern, not alarming."
Vogel, however, might be even more concerned after seeing what the banged-up Cavaliers (22-44) did in San Antonio on Saturday.
Facing a Spurs team that allows an average of 93.7 points at home, Cleveland scored 90 through three quarters and led by one with 4:40 to play. Though his Cavaliers ended up losing 119-113, coach Byron Scott was still pleased with the showing against the Western Conference's top team.
"I think for us, we played this game really well," he said.
Wayne Ellington had 21 points and fellow reserve Marreese Speights scored 19 for the Cavs, who shot 50.6 percent and only had 10 turnovers.
Cleveland wasn't nearly as efficient in the season's first two games with Indiana, averaging 85.0 points and shooting 36.6 percent in a pair of December defeats. The Cavs have been outscored by an average of 12.5 points in losing four straight to the Pacers and have one win in the last 11 meetings.
Indiana has limited Irving to an average of 13.0 points on 32.1 percent shooting in the season series, but won't have to worry about facing the All-Star point guard this time because of a sprained left shoulder. Cleveland is 5-12 without him this season but 3-3 since the All-Star break.
While the Pacers are hoping to see some improvement on the defensive end, getting more consistent offensive performances from Roy Hibbert and David West would also help.
Hibbert had 25 points Saturday after scoring seven on 3-of-12 shooting against the Lakers. West was 8 of 13 for 18 points versus the 76ers after going 4 for 13 to score eight the previous night.
Hibbert similarly had varying outings in this season's two games against the Cavs, finishing with four points on 1-of-7 shooting in the first meeting and 18 points while hitting 8 of 12 in the second. The Pacers are 14-4 when Hibbert, who averages 10.8 points, scores at least 13.
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AROUND THE WEB
In small sports-market cities all over the country, it’s not uncommon to see more fans chanting for the away team than the home team. But it’s atypical for players to call out their home-town “fans.”
After the Pacers fell to the visiting Lakers Friday night, a game in which Kobe Bryant played 12 minutes and failed to record a single point, George Hill had some harsh words...
One thing athletes need to understand, is that when a someone buys a ticket to a sporting event, they have the right to cheer for whoever they want to cheer for.
The home team, the road team or the cheerleaders. Just because you live in a city, doesn’t require you to be a fan of that team.
Don’t blame the fans for your loss, blame yourself. The Atlanta Hawks had no hometown support...
Indiana Pacers forward David West is out for Monday night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to a sprained lower back.
West, the Pacers' second-leading scorer with a 17.3-point average, was injured Saturday against Philadelphia. Indiana coach Frank Vogel said the 10-year veteran is day-to-day and could be available Tuesday night when the Pacers host Orlando.
In George Hill's mind, the Indiana Pacers have done enough to regain support from the fan base.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters will miss the rest of Cleveland's game against Indiana with a sore left knee.
Waiters scored four points in the first quarter, but didn't play in the second. The Cavaliers announced in the third quarter that he would be held out the rest of the game as a precaution and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
Waiters, the No. 4 pick...
Most people are not expecting much from the Cleveland Cavaliers at this point. They are a young, inexperienced team and they are playing without their All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Most teams see the Cavs on the upcoming schedule and think it is going to be an easy win.
But that has not been the case lately.
Cleveland is not just rolling over and riding out another lottery...
Danny Granger will not play in any of the Pacers' four games this week.
C.J. Miles hopes the Cavaliers pick up the team option on his deal for next season.
David West's absence hardly affected Indiana in its most recent game, and the Pacers might get by without him if he is sidelined again Tuesday night given the opponent.
After avoiding a season high-tying third straight defeat, Indiana will try to post back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly three weeks when it welcomes the lowly Orlando Magic.
A sprained lower back caused...
Photo by Mark Runyon
It is too early to say that Cavalier’s owner Dan Gilbert struck gold the summer of 2011? Landing top pick Kyrie Irving seems an assured victory in Cleveland but it’s just now that Gilbert’s draft haul is beginning to truly take shape as a resounding success despite a climb in the standings.
A large part of Cleveland’s bright future hinges on Tristian...
Anyone wondering whether the Cavaliers would continue to play hard in their third straight non-playoff season only needed to see Saturdays loss at San Antonio. The Cavs played with energy, determination and even a little sizzle in falling to the Wests top-ranked team. Meanwhile, the Pacers are in the playoffs, and have plenty for which to play. Like the Cavs, theyve...
You didn’t expect Dirk Nowitzki to miss all of ‘em, did you?
The Big German finished with just 13 points on 6-17 shooting, but his final two buckets sealed the game as Dallas came back to beat the Cavaliers 96-86. The Cavaliers led by an many as eleven points and held a 48-36 advantage at halftime, but turnovers, stagnant offense and horrendous defense doomed the Cavaliers in...
Tonight's matchup will be between Tim Duncan and Tristan Thompson when the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off a disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks and will be looking to play spoiler to the Spurs' number one seed hopes tonight. Tristan Thompson played a starter low 30 minutes last night while...
Already without Kyrie Irving, the Cavs will now lose Dion Waiters for at least one week with loose cartilage in his knee. The team has not ruled out arthroscopic surgery, but after the week, he will be re-evaluated.
According to The Plain Dealer:
Dion Waiters will miss at least a week after an MRI on Tuesday revealed loose cartilage in his sore left knee, the Cavaliers announced...