Game 56: Pacers at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: The Pacers might have taken the Cavs lightly on Wednesday. They didn't expect them to actually compete when the going got tough.
The Pacers currently have the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They are also 17-14 on the road, which ensures them of a winning road record for the first time in eight years, and just the fourth time in its NBA history.
The Cavs and Pacers will hook up again on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers now have a 2-1 lead in the season series.
In their only win in the season series, it was center Semih Erden who went off with 18 points and eight rebounds against the Pacers on Feb. 15. That didn't happen again on Wednesday because he sprained his ankle in the second quarter. I wouldn't be surprised if he's out for the rest of the season. They have only 10 games left.
What it does is eliminate their depth at center. Samardo Samuels is the only other "big" on the bench. He played well against the Pacers with 13 points and five rebounds. Is he consistent enough to play that way all the time? Probably not.
The Pacers found a way to slow down the Legend of Lester. Guard Lester Hudson had 19 points, six rebounds and two assists. But he shot poorly: 8 of 20 from the field, 1 of 9 from behind the arc. He also committed six turnovers and had five personal fouls.
Coach Byron Scott is giving him the green light to fire. Of course, that wouldn't be the case if Kyrie Irving were playing. But he's not, and might not for the rest of the season.
Scott said Irving and center Anderson Varejao are out for the Friday and Saturday road games for sure. They might be checked out by team doctors when the Cavs return home on Sunday. It's looking more and more like they will not play again this season.
MOONDOG UPDATE: Pacers forward David West said he feels terrible about inadvertently hitting Moondog, the Cavs mascot, while they were engaged in horseplay.
"I feel terrible about that," West said. "I really do. We were just having fun right before the game. We were just messing around. I really hope he's OK. Make sure he knows I'm sorry."
Moondog received medical treatment.
UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Indiana at 7 p.m. Friday at Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Danny Granger (6-9, 228)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. David West (6-9, 240)
C Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Roy Hibbert (7-2, 260)
SG Anthony Parker (6-6, 210) vs. Paul George (6-8, 215)
PG Donald Sloan (6-3, 205) vs. George Hill (6-2, 180)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, F Luke Harangody
Pacers - C Kyrylo Fesenko