Cleveland has dropped eight of its last 12 games and fallen into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one game behind Indiana. The Cavaliers could be without All-Star center Zydrunas Ilgauskas on Wednesday and for the stretch run as he injured his finger on Tuesday in a 110-80 blowout home loss to New Jersey.
Ilgauskas did not return to the game after injuring his right ring finger in the third quarter.
“He’ll be held back and have his finger X-rayed,” Cavaliers coach Brendan Malone said. “If he’s good enough, he will fly in tomorrow to Indiana.”
Ilgauskas is second on the team with 17.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. The 7-foot-4 center ranks first in the NBA with 3.8 offensive rebounds a game and his 157 blocks are good for seventh.
Teammate LeBron James isn’t so sure Ilgauskas would make it back into the lineup anytime soon.
“It doesn’t look too well for ‘Z,”’ said James. “It’s going to be tough now.”
Cavs forward Drew Gooden was also injured against the Nets, spraining his left shoulder in the third quarter.
“It hurts a lot, but I’m playing in Indiana,” Gooden said. “It’s a long season and I’ve had all sorts of injuries, some a lot worse than this.”
The Cavs have a chance to pull even with the Pacers, who have won four straight and six of seven.
Stephen Jackson scored 33 points and Indiana beat New York 97-79 on Tuesday despite a poor shooting night from Reggie Miller in his final appearance at Madison Square Garden. Miller went just 3-for-15 from the floor and finished with 13 points.
Jackson was 12-for-22 from the field, including 6-of-10 on 3-pointers.
“Stephen Jackson was a guy who got a hot hand and we rode him,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.