Game Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers (Preseason)
The Pacers will continue their preseason schedule when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday night. This will be the last road competition of the Blue & Gold’s preseason as they will complete the four-game schedule with home games against the Memphis Grizzlies and Cavaliers next week.
Perhaps a similar setup will be in order for Indiana’s Game 2. The team’s starters – minus Caris LeVert and TJ Warren – could see extended minutes in the first half while the reserves could finish the final 30 minutes. On Tuesday against the New York Knicks, starters declined after a hot start, leading to a 67-55 halftime deficit. The hosts’ first-half points total has indicated to head coach Rick Carlisle that defense should always be a priority as the regular season approaches.
“Our focus has to continue to be on defense,” Carlisle said after the loss. “We have to play with a certain defensive attitude and I thought that tonight we failed in this zone on a lot of possessions… We have to play with more advantage.”
The defense will have another opportunity to illustrate their improvement against a talented young goalie from Collin Sexton when they face the Cavs. In the shortened 2020-21 NBA season, the former Alabama goaltender averaged 24.2 points from 60 games played – a career high. This is the second consecutive season that the goalkeeper has averaged 20 points or more.
The Pacers’ top youngsters will likely have more time to shine as well. Rookie Chris Duarte, who finished the last game with 15 points, a high for the team, will have another chance to show his skills to the coaching staff and prove he belongs in the rotation even when LeVert and Warren will come back to action. Isaiah Jackson will have the opportunity to right his mistakes after committing three fouls in just 13 minutes of play off the bench. He will have to learn to perfect his aggressive style of play and use it to his advantage to move forward.
Pacers: PG – Malcolm Brogdon, SG – Jeremy Lamb, SF – Justin Holiday, PF – Domantas Sabonis, C – Myles Turner
Riders: PG – Collin Sexton, SG – Darius Garland, SF – Isaac Okoro, PF – Evan Mobley, C – Jarrett Allen
Pacers: Caris LeVert – out (lower back pain), TJ Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
May 10, 2021: The Blue & Gold earned a 111-102 road win over the Cavs in Game 68 of the regular season. Indiana held off the 25- and 22-point performances of Collin Sexton and Isaac Okoro thanks to a massive 25-point performance from Kelan Martin on the bench. Domantas Sabonis (21 points, 16 rebounds) and Caris LeVert (20 points, 10 assists) also made double-doubles to help the victory.
Tied at 91 in the middle of the fourth, the Pacers used a 9-1 run to open the game and take the lead for good. Indiana edged Cleveland 64-40 in paint and limited Sexton to just 7 of 26 shots from the ground. The victory propelled the Blue & Gold to ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings and helped them secure a place in the very first series of the NBA playoffs.
- The Pacers announced that the team acquired the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for goaltender Edmond Sumner and a conditional second-round pick on Wednesday. In a related move, they also signed Brad Wanamaker for a training camp.
- The Pacers won all three regular season games against the Cavs last year.
- Pacers center Myles Turner and Cavs center Jarrett Allen both played at the University of Texas for a year before going to the NBA.
The Pacers host Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat for opening night presented by Gainbridge on Saturday, October 23 at 7 p.m. ET. Reserve your seats today and help fill Gainbridge Fieldhouse to cheer on your Pacers. Find tickets »
Broadcast information TV and radio lists »
Radio: 93.5 / 107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (journalist / host)