Cleveland (34-12) at Indiana (25-22)
When: Monday, February 1st 2016
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NBA TV
The Cleveland Cavaliers take their new up-tempo offense into Indianapolis on Monday to take on the Indiana Pacers. Cleveland came away with their most impressive win of the season on Saturday night when they handled the San Antonio Spurs 117-103. The Cavaliers are averaging 115 points a game in their current four-game winning streak under new head coach Tyronn Lue. The biggest beneficiary of Lue’s system has been Kevin Love, who is averaging 23.7 points with a pair of double-doubles in the last three games. Love had 21 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s victory over the Spurs and is 11-of-21 from 3-point range in the last three games and 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. LeBron James led six Cleveland players in double-figures with 29 points and is shooting 62.5% from the floor in the last four games, but has hit just 1-of-6 three-pointers. Kyrie Irving has worked his way back from offseason surgery and played a season-high 36+ minutes on Saturday and scored 21. Timofey Mozgov (6.4 points) has also found the shooting touch going 15-of-21 from the field in the last four games. The fast-tempo style offense has also yielded more points on the other end of the floor. Cleveland has surrendered over their average (96.3) in three of the last four contests.
Indiana has bounced back from a string of six losses in seven games to win their last two including a 109-105 overtime victory over Denver on Saturday. Monta Ellis scored or assisted on all 10 of Indiana’s points in overtime Saturday, part of a season-high 32-point effort. Ellis is averaging 28.5 points in the last two games – well above his 14.3 season average. Paul George (23.5 points) has really cooled off after a hot first half scoring less than his average in 11 of his last 13 games. He scored 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting in Indiana’s 101-97 loss at Cleveland on November 8th. Jordan Hill (9.4 points) had season-highs on Saturday in both minutes (38) and points (20) going 9-of-13 from the field. The extra minutes were due in part to center Ian Mahinmi missing Saturday’s game against Denver with back issues and is listed day-to-day. The Pacers currently sit in the 7th seed in the East, but are just a game and a half way from the three-seed and 2.5 games clear of Charlotte (9th).
Cleveland is flying high right now and I’m going to stick with them against this inconsistent Indiana squad.
Pick: Cavaliers -5