It’s a Central Division clash in the Hoosier State. The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the road for the second game of a back to back as they face the Indiana Pacers Friday night. Cleveland was on the road as they faced the Raptors north of the border Thursday night. Indiana had their two game win streak snapped as they fell 114-106 at home to Miami Wednesday night. The Pacers hold a 96-91 advantage in the all-time regular season series and have taken both meetings this season, including a 106-102 win here in the last matchup on December 8.
Line: Cleveland -4
Cleveland Cavaliers Close Out Road Trip
Cleveland played the fourth game of a five-game trip in Toronto Thursday night: they close out their journey here. The Cavaliers entered Thursday’s game 4-6 in their last 10 games and were coming off a 127-99 pasting at Minnesota their last time out. Cleveland was third in the Eastern Conference standings, 5.5 games behind the Celtics for the top spot. The Cavaliers held a four-game lead over the Bucks and Pistons in the Central Division. Cleveland stood six games ahead of the ninth-place 76ers in the playoff picture. The Cavaliers are 11-10 on the road, 6-3 against the Central Division and 19-8 against Eastern Conference foes.
The Cavaliers are 5th in the league in scoring this season with 110.2 points per game. Cleveland is 22nd in rebounding with 41.8 caroms a night while the team stands 7th with 23.5 assists per contest. The Cavaliers are below average defensively, ranking 23rd in scoring defense by allowing 108.2 points per game. LeBron James averages a team-high 27.2 points while collecting 8.2 boards and dishing nine assists per game while Kevin Love is good for 19.4 points plus 9.6 boards per contest while Derrick Rose is chipping in 14.3 points a night but has played just seven games due to an ankle injury. Rose, who hasn’t played since November 7, may return during this road trip while Isaiah Thomas, acquired in the Kyrie Irving deal, made his season debut against Portland January 2. Jeff Green averages 11 points per contest. J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver (10.2 points), Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade (11.3 points), Jae Crowder and Tristan Thompson are some of the rotation guys that can step up and have a big game. Cleveland is tied for 5th in the league by shooting 47.5 percent from the field. The Cavaliers are 2nd in the league in made threes with 12.5 triples a night while ranking tied for 4th in three point shooting by shooting 37.9 percent from downtown.
Indiana Pacers Seek Third Straight Win vs. Cavaliers
Indiana had won two straight after a five game skid but saw their 10 game home win streak against the Heat come to an end Wednesday night. The Pacers look to regroup here against a division rival in an effort to close the gap in the Central Division. Indiana dug itself a 12 point hole after the opening quarter and despite cutting the deficit to one on a couple occasions in the fourth quarter, couldn’t get over the hump. The Pacers shot an even 50 percent from the floor: they were a miserable one of 18 from three point range and 19 of 29 at the free throw line. Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 26 points in the defeat.
The Pacers are 9th in the league in scoring with 107.3 points a night. Indiana is 21st in the league in rebounding by collecting 41.9 boards per game. The Pacers are 13th in assists with 22.7 per game but are a sieve defensively. Indiana is 20th in the league in scoring defense, allowing 106.8 points per game. Victor Oladipo leads the Pacers with 24.6 points plus 5.3 rebounds and 1.94 steals per contest: he missed four games with a sore knee. Myles Turner averages 13.9 points plus 6.5 rebounds and 2.24 blocks per game but missed seven games earlier this season with a concussion. Darren Collison (12.4 points, 5.5 assists), Thaddeus Young (11.7 points, 5.9 rebounds), Domantas Sabonis (12.5 points, eight rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (13.8 points) are contributing offensively. The Pacers have to get production from Cory Joseph, Lance Stephenson and TJ Leaf while tightening up defensively. Indiana is 4th in the league by shooting 48.1 percent from the field. The Pacers are tied for 20th with 9.4 threes per game. Indiana stands tied for 4th in the league as they’re knocking down 37.9 percent from beyond the arc.
- Cavaliers are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 road games
- Cavaliers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. Eastern Conference
- Cavaliers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Pacers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Friday games
Indiana is closing a four game homestand here looking to make up a little ground in the Central Division. The Pacers nearly rallied to upend the Heat but inevitably couldn’t make the plays late that could have given them the victory. Cleveland is struggling of late and they’re playing the second game of a back to back after facing Toronto on the road Thursday night. The Cavaliers will battle but fatigue will catch up to them: take the points and the Pacers in this contest.
Pick: Indiana Pacers +4
Cleveland closes a five game road trip here looking for some success as they prepare to return home. The Cavaliers are glad to hear that Thomas is going to start playing both games of back to backs. Rose is still up in the air about his return at this point in time. Indiana had their chances after cutting the deficit against Miami to one on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter but couldn’t capitalize. Turner missed that game with an elbow injury and is questionable for this one at best. Will Indiana be able to pull out their third win in as many tries against the Cavaliers this season?
The under is 7-0 in the Cavaliers’ last 7 games playing on 0 days rest, 7-2 in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a winning home record and 7-3 in their last 10 on the road. Indiana has seen the under go 4-1 in their last five at home and 8-2 in their last 10 against Central Division foes and 5-2 in their last seven games on Friday. With the Cavaliers playing the second game of a back to back, fatigue will be a factor: this one likely falls short of the total.