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Cavaliers vs. Pacers Preview: Can the Pacers finish the job against the Cavs this time?

The Pacers took one of the more frustrating L’s of the season in their last game against the Cavs.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers (18-17) continue their homestand on Thursday night when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers (23-13).

The teams played two weeks ago when the Pacers had one of their patented quality efforts through three quarters and then faded late, losing the fourth quarter, 35-18 and the game 118-112. This raises the point of the varied ‘patented’ types of games the Pacers have this season which have all delivered wins and losses in surprising fashion. Thus, looking back at the past has not been the best predictor of the results on game night.

Regardless, the Cavs are simply a tough matchup, with a dynamic and long front court which may force the Pacers to start Jalen Smith instead of Aaron Nesmith as they have recently. Then there is Donovan Mitchell who appeared to take offense to some Bennedict Mathurin chatter on the court and then literally took the last game over in that deciding fourth quarter, finishing with 41 points to lay bare the reason the Cavs are much improved this year with Mitchell giving them ‘that guy’ to go along with oodles of young talent that ain’t afraid, either.

The Pacers have thrived in these types of games that seem too much for them this year but the appearance of Tyrese Haliburton on the injury report is a concern. Hali tweaked his knee on one of the many monster plays he made against the Hawks on Tuesday (speaking of dynamic play makers). His injury history proves he will give it a go as best as he can up to game time, so hopefully there are no deeper concerns and the Pacers can give a full run at the Cavs.

DraftKings Odds: Heat -4.5, O/U 223.5 (latest DraftKings odds here)

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

TV: Bally Sports Indiana/Bally Sports + app

Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM

Projected Starting Lineups:

Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Andrew Nembhard, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Myles Turner

Cavaliers: Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen

IND: Tyrese Haliburton - questionable (right knee bruise), Daniel Theis - out (right knee surgery), Kendall Brown - out (right tibia stress reaction)

CLE: Robin Lopez - questionable (illness), Ricky Rubio - out (left knee ACL surgery), Dean Wade - out (left shoulder sprain), Dylan Windler - out (right ankle sprain)

Please share your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.