The Cavaliers have had one of the best starts in franchise history, but they’ve certainly not had many blowout wins. This Pacers team isn’t particularly gelling just yet, but they’ve got the perimeter scoring talent to cause problems for the Cavaliers. This won’t be a walkover game, and the Vegas line of -5 in favor of the Cavaliers reflects that. Also, a nail-biter against Toronto on Tuesday night means the Cavaliers won’t be fresh. This will probably be tougher than it feels it should be.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (9-1) vs Indiana Pacers (5-6)
When? 7:00 pm ET
Where? Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
What to Watch For:
- Well, this Pacers team isn’t coming together like some thought they would. They’re integrating a ton of new pieces, including Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, Al Jefferson and an expanded role for young star Myles Turner.
- Despite the turmoil, they’re surviving at 5-6. Turner in particular looks very impressive, with an ability to stroke the midrange jumper and even a three here and there, all while being able to jump out of the gym. I think we all remember his pretty vicious block on LeBron James last year. I certainly do, I was at that game.
- That said, this team misses George Hill. They actively downgraded at point guard by trading for Jeff Teague, who is a nice player, but can’t replicate Hill’s ability to absolutely hound the hell out of opposing point guards. I imagine Kyrie Irving was happy to see Hill go West.
- The Pacers made a big hubbub about playing fast this year, which is in part why they let Frank Vogel go. They replaced him with known slowpoke Nate McMillan, though, so that was weird. Nonetheless, they actually seem to be running, currently holding the 10th fastest pace in the league.
- Haven’t seen anything on J.R. Smith’s availability for tonight, but the Cavaliers really miss him when he’s unable to play. He adds a jolt of athleticism that other role players on the Cavaliers lack, and allows the Cavs to be much more versatile.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
I think this is going to be much closer than anybody reading this will want it to be. Back-to-backs are hard, and the Cavaliers effort can sometimes be suspect. They know they can take over and win late, and it shows. I think the Pacers give them a good run until the Cavaliers decide to play. Cavaliers win 111-104.