The Pacers (14-22) play make a short roadie to Cleveland on Sunday evening to play the Cavaliers (20-16) for the first of four games between the Central Division rivals this season.
The Cavs are a great NBA story this season with a young core showing plenty of talent and the team as a whole developing together to currently sit in fifth place in the East. This despite dealing with the average injury and COVID issues that most others are dealing with.
Rookie Evan Mobley has been a revelation for the Cavs and a nice complement to point guard Darius Garland. Garland will be out for the Cavs due to COVID protocols along with injured backcourt mate Colin Sexton who both showed out as problems against the Pacers in preseason. Veteran Ricky Rubio (knee) has been lost for the season, as well which further diminishes the Cavs backcourt.
With Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Laurie Markkanen, the Cavs have a long, active and skilled front court, so the Pacers will have to get the best out of their double-big lineup with Sabonis and Turner. The Cavs have lost four of their last five games while dealing with fluctuating lineup issues.
The Pacers have lost four of their last five games while also piecing together playing rotations. COVID protocols continue to keep Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, Jeremy Lamb and Kelan Martin out of the rotation. Mere hours before tip time, Caris LeVert, Goga Bitadze and TJ Warren were also added to the COVID list...so 2022 feeling a lot like 2021 for the Pacers. Lance Stephenson and Justin Anderson should be available as the Pacers will need to get a boost from their 10-day players.
DraftKings Odds: Cavaliers -2.5, O/U 209.5
When: 6:00 p.m. ET
When: Rocket Mortgage FIeldHouse, Cleveland, OH
TV: Bally Sports Indiana/NBA TV
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Keifer Sykes, Duane Washington Jr, Justin Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner
Cavaliers: Kevin Pangos, Isaac Okoro, Laurie Markkanen, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen
IND: Caris LeVert - out (health and safety protocol), Goga Bitadze - out (health and safety protocol), Malcolm Brogdon - out (health and safety protocols), Chris Duarte - out (health and safety protocols), Isaiah Jackson - out (health and safety protocols), Jeremy Lamb - out (health and safety protocols), Kelan Martin - out (health and safety protocols), T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
CLE: Darius Garland - out (health and safety protocols), Cedi Osman - out (health and safety protocols), Ricky Rubio - out (left knee ACL tear), Collin Sexton - out (left knee meniscal tear)
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.