NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 30th (All times Eastern)
Indiana Pacers (52-21) at Cleveland Cavaliers (29-45), 3 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers need to get out of their funk soon and they'll try again Sunday afternoon when they visit Quicken Loans Arena to face the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Pacers have dropped three of their last four and four of their last six. Indiana has won the Central Division title and is still 1 1/2 games ahead of the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference supremacy.
Indiana will try to stem a four-game road slide Sunday when they visit the Q. Last time out, the Pacers laid a bit of an egg with a 91-78 loss in Washington to the Wizards. This was just two days after a huge victory over the Heat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
On Friday, Paul George had 19 points but the Pacers shot just 35.4 percent and were 2-for-13 on 3-pointers. Lance Stephenson registered a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds, while David West and Luis Scola managed 10 apiece.
"I don't know if we were ready to play or not," said Scola. "The thing is, they beat us pretty well and we needed this game as much as we needed the last game.
"We have such a great opportunity right now and we're letting it slip because of these types of games. It's been happening way too often."
The Cavs had a three-game winning streak ended Friday night with a 108-97 road loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Luol Deng and Dion Waiters each netted 20 points to lead the Cavs. Spencer Hawes contributed 16 points and Tristan Thompson added 14 in the setback.
"Coming out we didn't do a good enough job," said Hawes. "We need to take it one game at a time. I know that's cliche but it's how we have to look at it."
The Nets bench outscored the Cleveland reserves, 48-18, and the shooting numbers were heavily in Brooklyn's favor. The Cavs shot 42.5 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from long range.
Brooklyn shot almost 55 percent from the field and 48 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Cleveland also won the turnover battle, 12-18, but it wasn't enough to get the victory.
The Cavaliers, based on the strength of that winning streak, inched closer to the Atlanta Hawks for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland is three games behind the Hawks in a bid to make the postseason.
The Pacers have won all three meetings this season and nine in a row against the Cavaliers. Indiana has also won 15 of the last 16 meetings with its Central Division rivals.
Cleveland has lost seven of the last eight times the two sides played at the Q.
03/30 10:10:12 ET