Game #69 - Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers Game Night Open Thread

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2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
VS
22-45 53-15
March 17, 2010
Quicken Loans Arena
7:00PM
Radio - WTAM 1100 / FSOhio
Probable starters:
Earl Watson PG Mo Williams
Brandon Rush SG Anthony Parker
Dahntay Jones SF LeBron James
Troy Murphy PF Antawn Jamison
Roy Hibbert C J.J. Hickson

The Cavaliers can inch closer to clinching their 2nd straight Central Division Championship tonight with a win over the Indiana Pacers at the Q.  The Cavaliers and Pacer both played last night - the Cavaliers winning in Detroit while the Pacer won at home over the Bobcats, ending Charlotte's 6 game winning streak.

The win came at a price, however, with the Pacers losing Danny Granger for an undetermined amount of time with an injury to his cheekbone.  Troy Murphy scored 16 points and added 13 rebounds for the Pacers.

The Cavaliers were once again sluggish to start against the Pistons before outscoring Detroit 38-25 in the 4th Q at the Palace.  LeBron James notched his 32nd career triple-double(29-12-12) while Mo Williams came alive with 20 points in the win.  It was the Cavaliers 4th straight win and 10th straight over Detroit - including a 4-game sweep in the playoffs last season.

As for tonight's game - at The Q, with a division title on the line - you have to like the Cavaliers chances.  Cleveland has not lost to a team under-.500 since mid November, and the Cavaliers have beaten Indiana 9 straight times at The Q.  In a weird scheduling quirk, it has been a while since the Cavaliers have faced Indiana at The Q - December 5, 2008 - a 97-73 win for the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers are playing at home for the 2nd consecutive St. Patrick's Day.  Last season, the Cavaliers beat Orlando at The Q 97-93.  LeBron James went off for 43-12-8 in the win.

3-in the Key

1. At 53-15 (.779), Cleveland owns the NBA's best record and leads the league with highest point differential at +7.3. The Cavaliers are one of only two teams with 50 wins (Los Angeles Lakers have 50), have won 10 of their last 11 games and is 27-7 (.794) in 2010, which is the best mark in that span. After going a league-best 66-16 (.805) last season, the Cavaliers could become the first team since the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96 (72-10) and 1996-97 (69-13) to have sole possession of the best record in the regular season in consecutive years.

2. With a win tonight versus the Indiana Pacers or a Milwaukee loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Cavaliers will clinch the Central Division title. It would mark the 3rd time in franchise history that Cleveland has won the division (1975-76 and 2008-09) and the first time they will have won back-to-back division titles. Tonight's game will mark the second of four straight games against Central Division opponents (113-101 win at DET, vs. IND, @CHI, vs. DET) and Cleveland currently stands at 8-2 (.778) against their division this season while holding a commanding 15.5 game lead over Milwaukee, the largest division lead in the NBA.

3. With his 35th point, LeBron James will score the 15,000th point of his career. James would become the youngest player in the NBA to reach 15,000 points (Kobe Bryant - 27 years, 136 days old). He has scored at least 20 points in each of his last 18 games, which leads the league as the longest active streak (2nd is eight games). James (3,785 rebs) will also move up in the Cavs franchise record books for total rebounds as he is only six rebounds away from moving into 4th place, ahead of Jim Chones' 3,790

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