The Indiana Pacers are on the verge of a playoff berth and will shoot for a home-and-home sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers when the two Central Division foes collide tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana, the third seed in the Eastern Conference, handed the Cavaliers a 104-98 loss in overtime on Wednesday thanks to Danny Granger, who scored five of his team-best 23 points in the extra quarter. David West tallied 19 points and George Hill added 17 for the Pacers, who have won two straight and six of their last seven games.
"I just thought we were a little bit more aggressive and fought some of those (post entry) catches," said West. "We just made them get a little bit uncomfortable. They're a good group of guys, in terms of their effort."
Another win tonight by the Pacers or a Milwaukee loss at Detroit would send Indiana to the postseason for a second consecutive year.
The Pacers are two games ahead of Boston, Atlanta and Orlando in the conference standings, and will play six of their last eight regular season games at home. Indiana will close out the condensed schedule on a four-game homestand and are 19-8 as the host in 2011-12.
Cleveland has dropped 11 of 13 games and almost got away with a win versus the Pacers the last time out.
Lester Hudson finished with 19 points, while Antawn Jamison led the way with 21 points and eight rebounds for the Cavs.
"We fought hard," Hudson said. "The coaching staff and my teammates all fought hard, but we just came up a little bit short tonight. Next time, we expect to win."
Cavaliers rookie guard Kyrie Irving missed his fifth straight contest with a sore right shoulder and is not expected to play tonight. Cleveland will also visit Washington on the quick trip and is 9-18 away from the Q.
The Cavs have lost two of three meetings with Indiana this season and seven of eight overall. Cleveland is winless in three straight games at the Pacers.