Indiana (18-27) at Cleveland (8-40)

By JEFF BARTL, STATS Writer Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011 Tipoff: 7:00 pm EST Wed Feb 2, 2011

While little is going right for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Indiana Pacers hope a coaching change will allow them to make a playoff push in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland looks to avoid taking another step toward NBA records for futility Wednesday night when it hosts Indiana, which won its first game under interim coach Frank Vogel.

The Cavaliers (8-40) were the first team to 40 wins in 2009-10 with LeBron James(notes) on his way to his second straight NBA MVP award. This season, they were the first to 40 losses after James and Miami dealt them a 117-90 defeat Monday.

Cleveland has lost 31 of 32 and 21 straight - the longest skid since the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets matched the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies for the single-season record of 23 straight losses.

Cleveland dropped a league-record 24 in a row over two seasons from March-November 1982.

“We just keep fighting. That’s all you can do,” coach Byron Scott said.

Antawn Jamison(notes) had 21 points and 10 rebounds against Miami, and Manny Harris(notes) scored 20 points for the second straight game. James pulled Harris aside following the game to compliment him on his performance.

“Coming from a player like him and his caliber it means a lot,” Harris said. “Everything he said was right.”

Mo Williams(notes) sat out his eighth straight game with a strained left hip flexor and is expected to miss at least another week.

That doesn’t bode well for Cleveland against an Indiana team that has beaten the Cavs three times this season.

The Pacers (18-27) won their first game after coach Jim O’Brien was dismissed Sunday, beating Toronto 104-93 on Monday.

Team president Larry Bird questioned O’Brien’s use of Indiana’s young talent, and Vogel quickly showed he plans on using a different approach.

Third-year center Roy Hibbert(notes), who scored two points in a loss to Chicago on Saturday in O’Brien’s final contest, had 24 points and 11 rebounds against the Raptors. It was his highest point total since scoring 24 on Nov. 28.

“It was an emphasis tonight of, ‘Roy, get in the post, get in the post,”’ Hibbert said. “I don’t think I made a lot of plays from the foul line area and the thing was, if you have a 7-footer, put them down low and make some plays.”

Rookie Paul George(notes) had 16 points, and second-year forward Tyler Hansbrough(notes) returned and scored 14 after missing the previous two games with pneumonia.

Danny Granger(notes) was held to 11 points on 3-for-15 shooting, but he’s averaged 29.3 points in the three victories over Cleveland this season. Granger scored 30 in a 108-99 win Dec. 17, the teams’ last meeting.

The Pacers have beaten the Cavaliers four straight times after losing 13 of the previous 14 matchups.

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