Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers Preview
The fact that the Pacers were winning as much as they had been was impressive. When they traded Victor Oladipo and brought in Caris LeVert, they found a mass on one of his kidneys, so he hasn’t been able to debut yet.
He’ll be back sometime this month, and when he does, this team is going to be very hard to stop. And there’s probably a little hope that TJ Warren can still return this season, eventually.
Cleveland, meanwhile, had hit rock bottom after a loss to OKC last Sunday. It marked their tenth loss in a row, and the team lost most of the games during the streak by double-digits. Nothing was clicking, and it was hard to pinpoint whatever the problem was.
Now, they have won four straight, including a victory over the contending 76ers, who they have now beaten twice. Collin Sexton enters this game off a 39-point effort against Houston.
Indiana Seeking Much-Needed Win
Winning has been eluding Indiana in recent weeks. It has actually been eluding every team in the conference besides Philly, Brooklyn, and Milwaukee for most of the season. They are the only teams that are more than one game over .500 in the entire East. Miami and Toronto have started to win with regularity and are probably close to that threshold. Indiana, though, not so much.
Malcolm Brogdon has had a good year. Domantas Sabonis has been as dominant as any other big man. Plus, Myles Turner has grown by leaps and bounds as a defender and looks to be a prime DPOY candidate. But the team is pretty weak on the wings, with Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday not being good enough to get it done.
Considering that they have been swept in the playoffs each of the past two years, a lot has to happen to turn it around.
Cavs Seeking Fifth Straight Win
Everything in Cleveland revolves around LeBron. When the team makes the playoffs, competes for titles, or goes on winning streaks. So much so that, believe or not, the team’s four-game winning streak marks just the second time in the last seven seasons played with LBJ, not on the roster that they have won at least four games in a row.
In 2013-14, the Cavs followed a six-game skid with a six-game winning streak. Since then, the longest streak was three games, achieved twice this season. The Cavs are still figuring things out, but it does seem that their Darius Garland-Collin Sexton backcourt pairing is getting better each and every time they take the floor.
Jarrett Allen is starting to look like an elite center, both on offense and defense. Once Andre Drummond is gone, they can officially focus on the players around them. The Cavs are starting to turn it around.
Sorry Indy, but this is a tough Cavs team that has finally put the pieces of the puzzle together and will likely look to keep their momentum rolling with another win.
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