Game 60: Cavs at Pacers
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
1. The NBA's hottest team got derailed by the Pacers on Friday. The Cavaliers put up a fight, but when one takes All-Stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving out of the lineup, it's almost too much to overcome. Combined, they account for more than 47 points per game.
2. Irving's absence was almost expected after last night. He strained his left shoulder in the Golden State game. His status will be updated before the Houston game Sunday. It doesn't appear to be long term - a matter of days instead of weeks.
3. James took a hard fall on his back in the Warriors game. After the game, Cavs coach David Blatt was asked if he'd rest James against Indiana. "It's a little early for that," Blatt said. "I didn’t see anything wrong with his back. He expended a lot of energy. He was in attack mode from minute one. If he plays like that with a sore back, wow." James scored a season-high 42 points against the Warriors. So, what happens? Blatt decides to rest him against the Pacers. On the box score, he was listed as "Did Not Dress, Coach's Decision."
4. The Cavs have still won 18 of their last 21 games. If everyone plays on Sunday, they might be able to defeat Houston. The Rockets are that good. With the loss, the Cavs dropped back to the No. 4 seed. No. 2 Toronto, No. 3 Chicago and the Cavs all have 37 wins. The Raptors have 21 losses, followed by the Bulls' 22 and Cleveland 23.
5. Matthew Dellavedova will be in the starting lineup until Irving returns. He had 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four turnovers in 38 minutes against the Pacers. However, he took entirely too many shots, as he was 5 of 18 from the field.
6. He's a completely different player from Irving. They both defend, but do it in a different manner. Delly tries to bully the opposition with his aggressive, hands-on play. Irving has the quickness to stay in front of his man. Offensively, Irving can do so much more with the ball. His ball handling is next to none. He's also a deadly shooter from the perimeter and can get to the basket on almost anyone.
7. This is one position the Cavs don't have adequate depth. Iman Shumpert will likely be the backup point guard, even though he's more of a "2."
8. Bankers Life Fieldhouse has been a House of Horrors for the Cavs. They've lost 10 consecutive games in Indy, dating back to Jan. 29, 2010. That includes their previous visit when the Cavs coughed up a 13-point lead on Feb. 6 in a 103-99 setback.
9. Veteran forward James Jones started at small forward last night. He just can't play 30 minutes against starters and expect him to produce. Blatt started Shumpert in the second half at the "3" spot. Jones was drafted by Indiana in 2003. He spent two seasons with the Pacers.
10. The Cavs shot just 35.9 percent from the field against the Pacers. Tristan Thompson was the only Cavs player to make at least half of his shots. He was 3 of 4 from the field.
UP NEXT: at Houston, Toyota Center, 3:30 p.m. Sunday
SF James Jones (6-8, 215) vs. Solomon Hill (6-7, 225)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Roy Hibbert (7-2, 275)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. C.J. Miles (6-6, 225)
Pacers - G/F Paul George, F/C Shayne Whittington
Zach Zarba, Curtis Blair, Mark Lindsay