Game 28: Pacers at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs weren't up to the task of trying to upend the Pacers without center Anderson Varejao in the lineup.
He missed the game with a bruised right knee. Varejao probably won't play in Milwaukee on Saturday, either. His target date for his return is Wednesday at Washington.
Rookie Tyler Zeller will remain in the starting lineup at center. The 7-footer is a quality player with good offensive skills. The Cavs won't miss much on offense with Zeller in the lineup. But they'll miss Varejao's defensive energy.
Varejao attacks the boards with a vengeance. Zeller is not a great rebounder or defender. He also doesn't block many shots. What he does is drain jump shots and has the ability to score in the post. He'll get better the more he plays. He's been a good addition to the team.
Besides his shooting, another thing I like about him is that he has a little bit of a nasty streak. The Cavs need more guys like him. I could live with adding Indiana power forward Cody Zeller in the 2013 draft. But I'm getting away from the task as hand.
Pitting Tyler Zeller against All-Star center Roy Hibbert was a bit of a mismatch. Hibbert, had a game-high 18 points, six rebounds and two blocks. He's so long. He also had a 30-pound advantage on Zeller.
Hibbert has been bothered by a bruised left thigh. It didn't look like it on Friday.
The Cavs have lost their last four games to the Pacers. They have now lost 21 of their last 24 games. They are 0-8 in the Central Division, 0-17 dating back to last year. That's an incredible stat.
They are also just 3-9 at The Q.
Cavs coach Byron Scott said afterward that he's nearing his wit's end with all the losing. I'm going to delve into that even further in my NBA notes on Sunday. I was not trying to do any cross promotion there, but I guess that's what this is.
LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Boston on Wednesday, 103-91.
UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Milwaukee 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Bradley Center.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Paul George (6-8, 215)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. David West (6-9, 240)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Roy Hibbert (7-2, 280)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Lance Stephenson (6-5, 228)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. George Hill (6-2, 190)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Donald Sloan
Pacers - F Danny Granger, G Orlando Johnson
Jason Phillips, Eric Dalen, Eric Lewis