The Eastern Conference has absorbed a jolt over the past couple of days with two top contenders making news which should create a good opportunity for the Pacers on Wednesday night.
First, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced Kevin Love would be out for about six weeks after having his left knee scoped. Without Love, the Cavs host the Pacers on Wednesday night after holding on to beat the Timberwolves in Minnesota on Tuesday. LeBron James played 40 minutes as the Wolves hung aound until Kyrie Irving and LBJ put them away in the final minute.
So after the Pacers enjoyed a day off, they catch the Cavs on the back-to-back, adjusting to life without Kevin Love. Aside from the Bucks game last Saturday, this may set up as the best chance for a Pacers win over the past two weeks. But with Channing Frye filling in for Love, the Pacers' problems giving up three-pointers will still be an issue. The Cavs drained 16 long balls last week as they rallied past the Pacers with relative ease.
Regardless, the circumstances create a situations the Pacers need to take advantage of with an opportunity to show some road toughness, as Nate McMillan would put it.
The looming trade deadline is also altering things in the East. The Toronto Raptors have been scuffling along of late so they pulled the trigger on a deal to land forward Serge Ibaka from Orlando for the price of Terrence Ross and a late first round pick. Seems like a great deal for the Raps, at least for the short-term, at least until they decide to invest this summer with both Kyle Lowry and Ibaka up as free agents.
The deadline also has rumors and reports of teams engaging in talks including the Pacers. This rundown of trade info from HoopsHype reports that the Pacers have been among the teams actively talking trade scenarios with other teams, according to other team execs. Not sure I believe that Paul George is the only untouchable considering Myles Turner on a rookie deal would fit that description even better than PG. Still, it would remain a surprise if the Pacers didn't make some type of move before the Feb. 23 trade deadline.