Indiana (43-31) at Cleveland (14-59)

Rain Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Apr 2, 2003
  • TV: WTTV
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With a crucial matchup with the Detroit Pistons looming, the Indiana Pacers will try to tune up and gain some ground against the NBA-worst Cleveland Cavaliers at Gund Arena.

The Pacers, who will face the Central Division-leading Pistons on Friday, are looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s 103-98 home loss to the Sacramento Kings.

Jermaine O’Neal had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, but they were outrebounded 56-47 and made just 66 percent (21-of-32) of their free throws.

“If we rebound the basketball and make free throws, we win this one going away,” Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said.

Indiana had its two-game win streak snapped and fell 4 1/2 behind Detroit. The Pacers are vying for their first division title since the 1999-00 season, when they reached the NBA finals under Larry Bird.

The Pacers had their regular starting five—Reggie and Brad Miller, O’Neal, Ron Artest, and Jamaal Tinsley—together for the first time since March 8. That unit is 18-15 this season.

Tinsley was back running the point after missing three games following the death of his mother. He dished out 10 assists.

“I think it would be incredibly cruel of me as a coach if a guy lost his starting position because his mother died,” Thomas said.

The Cavs, who need two wins in their final nine games to avoid the franchise’s worst record of 15-67, are coming off their third straight loss with Saturday’s 110-106 to the Boston Celtics.

It was only the first loss in four home games for the Cavs, who wasted another big performance from Rickey Davis. The 6-foot-7 guard finished with 38 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, after pouring in 31 points in a 104-95 loss at Boston on Friday.

Davis is shooting 53 percent (25-of-47) over his last two games.

The Pacers have won 15 of their last 18 regular season meetings against the Cavaliers, including going 3-0 this season.

STANDINGS: Pacers - 2nd place, 4 1/2 GB, Central Division. Cavaliers - 8th place, 33 GB, Central Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Pacers - F Artest, F O’Neal, C Brad Miller, G Reggie Miller, G Tinsley. Cavaliers - F Darius Miles, F Carlos Boozer, C Zydrunas Ilgauskas, G Davis, G Milt Palacio.

TEAM LEADERS: Pacers - O’Neal, 20.4 ppg and 10.4 rpg; Jamaal Tinsley, 7.3 apg. Cavaliers - Davis, 20.5 ppg and 5.3 apg; Ilgauskas, 7.6 rpg.

SEASON SERIES: Pacers, 3-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 11; Pacers 107-96. At Indiana, the Pacers got double-figure scoring from six players, including a team-high 28 from O’Neal. The Cavs, who were led by reserve Jumaine Jones’s 25 points, shot nearly 50 percent (37-of-75) from the field. However, they committed 21 turnovers that Indiana converted to 27 points.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pacers - 13-23 on the road; Cavaliers - 11-25 at home.

INJURIES: Pacers - G Jamison Brewer (shoulder). Cavaliers - none.

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