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Sunday, January 5th (All times Eastern)
Indiana Pacers (26-6) at Cleveland (11-22), 6 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers lead the Cleveland Cavaliers by 15 1/2 games in the Central Division, but it won't stop the two from squaring off Sunday evening at the Q.
The Pacers atoned for a road loss to the Toronto Raptors earlier this week with a 99-82 home drubbing of the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.
Paul George amassed 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Pacers overcame a slow start to cruise to victory. New Orleans performed just fine without leading scorer Ryan Anderson's services early on, with Eric Gordon netting six points during a 12-0 first-quarter run that staked the Pelicans to a 27-13 lead 10 minutes into the contest. The Pacers trailed 38-25 nearing the midway mark of the second quarter, but bounced back strongly to dominate the rest of the way.
Lance Stephenson scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to help the Pacers improve to 16-1 at home this season. Danny Granger had his most productive game since returning from a calf injury in the triumph, dropping in 13 points in nearly 21 minutes off the bench.
"We did a good job on defense, running on the break and playing together," said Stephenson.
George Hill had 10 in the victory for the Pacers, a team that plays two of their next three on the road, but five of their next seven in Indianapolis.
The Cavs lost their fifth straight road game on Saturday night, an 89-82 setback in Brooklyn.
Without star Kyrie Irving, who is expected to miss Sunday's contest with a bruised left knee, Dion Waiters had 26 points in a reserve role for the Cavaliers, who lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Tristan Thompson's layup had the Cavs within 69-67 early in the fourth quarter, but the Nets scored the ensuing seven points.
"There were a couple times in the second half that we moved the ball the right way," said Cavs coach Mike Brown. "You give Brooklyn credit; they won the game and did a great job."
C.J. Miles scored 19 for Cleveland and Matthew Dellavedova finished with 13 for the second unit. Anderson Varejao grabbed 12 rebounds in a losing effort.
Cleveland has Philly at home on Tuesday, then hits the west coast for five games. That could be a problem considering the Cavaliers are 2-15 as the visitor this season.
The Pacers have won eight straight against the Cavs, including both of this season's matchups, which were both in Indianapolis. The Pacers are 6-1 in their last seven in Cleveland.
01/05 10:28:04 ET
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