Published January 13, 2015
The Indiana Pacers will try to stem a two-game losing streak Monday night when they visit Central Division rivals, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Pacers have dropped three of their last four, including a home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday when Kobe Bryant only played the first quarter for the Lakers.
The following night, Indiana couldn't handle the Philadelphia 76ers in the City of Brotherly Love. The Pacers fell to the Sixers 98-91 at the Wells Fargo Center.
"I think it's just we're at that point in the season," explained Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "It's a grind, a lot of guys are playing, and have played all season, a heck of a lot more minutes than they have ever played before. We seem like we're a step slow in a lot of areas and we just have to grind through. It's a concern, not alarming."
Roy Hibbert paced the Pacers with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Paul George and David West both had 18 points, while George added 14 boards and eight assists. George Hill added 13 in the loss on 5-for-15 shooting.
The Pacers still lead the Central Division by 3 1/2 games over the Chicago Bulls. The Cavs are just a mere 18 games behind and they are without All-Star guard Kyrie Irving with a sprained left shoulder.
The Cavs went to Texas for a pair of games this weekend and came out 0-2. They fell to the Dallas Mavericks, 96-86 on Friday night, then fell 119-113 to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
Wayne Ellington led the Cavaliers off the bench on Saturday night with 21 points. Marreese Speights added 19 in a reserve role as the second unit tallied 53 points.
"Our bench guys did a good job of playing together and playing hard," said head coach Byron Scott.
The Cavaliers played well enough to win the game against the Spurs. Cleveland shot 50.6 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from long range and only committed 11 turnovers.
What felled the Cavaliers was late miscues.
"We made some little mistakes with backdoor cuts and offensive rebound, just things you can't do," said Scott. "You have to make them earn it and we kind of game them a few buckets."
The Pacers have won four straight over the Cavaliers, including both of this season's matchups. Indiana has taken 10 of the last 11 against the Cavs and five of the last six in Cleveland.