Cavaliers-Pacers Preview

The Associated PressNovember 2, 2013

Paced by clutch shooting and tough defense, the Indiana Pacers are in position to win their first three games for the second time in three years.

A matchup against a Cleveland Cavaliers team they've dominated in recent seasons should help get them there.

The Pacers look to extend their strong start by beating the visiting Cavaliers for the seventh straight time Saturday night.

Coming off a postseason run in which he averaged 14.6 points, George Hill bounced back from a quiet opener with 19 points in Wednesday's 95-90 win at New Orleans.

He went 4 for 7 from 3-point range, including one with 31.1 seconds left that helped the Pacers complete a 16-point, second-half comeback.

"I'm a big believer in not being scared to make a play," Hill said. "Sometimes you're going to hit it and sometimes you're not and I hit it."

Back home for the first time since a 97-87 victory over Orlando in the opener, Hill will try to continue his success there versus the Cavaliers (1-1). He's scored at least 15 in his last four games against them in Indianapolis, including 27 in a 99-94 victory April 9 that gave the Pacers (2-0) a four-game season sweep.

All-Star Paul George had 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting in that contest to continue his struggles against Cleveland. In eight career starts, he's averaged 10.5 points while shooting 36.6 percent from the field.

During his breakout 2012-13, George scored 27 points to lead Indiana to a 96-81 home win in the first meeting before averaging 12.7 on 13-of-34 shooting in his last three.

George, however, has gotten off to a strong start heading into this contest. He had a game-high 32 points Wednesday, one night after finishing with 24 against the Magic.

Lance Stephenson also hopes to continue his solid play after going for 19 and 16 points while shooting a combined 15 of 24 from the floor.

The defensive-minded Pacers limited their first two opponents to 90 points or less while holding them below 40 percent from the field. Led by Roy Hibbert's 12 blocks, they also top the NBA in rejections with 30.

The Cavs managed just 88.5 points on 39.3-percent shooting in last year's season series. They'll attempt to regroup after shooting 38.1 percent and missing 14 of 18 from 3-point range in a 90-84 loss at Charlotte on Friday.

The Bobcats' Kemba Walker hit a 3-pointer over Kyrie Irving with 58 seconds left to break a tie, and Cleveland was unable to answer in its two final chances.

"Right now it's not good, especially to start the game and we are getting too many 'My bads,'" coach Mike Brown said. "And when you get two or three 'My bads' from each individual, it adds up."

Irving finished with 16 points, giving him 31 on 11-of-33 shooting in his first two games. The star guard has averaged 18.3 points but shot 39.6 from the floor and committed 16 turnovers in his three meetings with Indiana.

Tristan Thompson has been a bright spot with 39 points and 20 rebounds in his first two games. He had double-doubles in two of four games against the Pacers last season.

Cleveland hasn't won in Indiana since Jan. 29, 2010, and has lost 12 of 13 meetings overall.