Cavs Can Clean Up Some Things, But in Good Spot: Game Preview vs. Pacers

Believe it or not, we’re just 10 games away from the midpoint of the season. And so far, when the Cavaliers are healthy, they’ve proven to be pretty doggone good.Darius Garland

Have they been wildly consistent? Probably not.

Have Darius Garland and Evan Mobley improved from last season? Well, that’s up for debate.

Do the Cavs have the occasional in-game meltdown, where they just seem to stop playing the right way? Yes, but then again, almost everyone does.

And here’s the bottom line — despite some inconsistencies, the Cavs are in third place in the Eastern Conference. They have a bona fide All-Star and a really good all-around individual in Donovan Mitchell.

They have Garland and Mobley, two young players who are learning as they go and are showing tons of promise. And Jarrett Allen is forever underrated when it comes to being a team player, protecting the basket and making the most of the shot opportunities he gets.

There’s more, with the likes of Caris LeVert becoming a distributor and Lamar Stevens finding a role via all-out hustle on a nightly basis. And coach J.B. Bickerstaff has what seems like the perfect personality to lead this particular group.

Now, the Cavs are about to embark on a six-game homestand. This is where they should be able to keep things rolling after Wednesday’s road win over the Mavericks, and at the very worst, maintain their spot as the team with the second-best record in the Central Division and third-best in the East.

All this, and Ricky Rubio will soon return. Last season, he proved to act as a coach on the court, calm things down when they started to get crazy, and seemingly get guys the ball in their favorite spots. You could make the case that Mobley hasn’t been quite the same since Rubio went down in December, and that may not be a coincidence.

Meanwhile, the Pacers arrive with some promise of their own. Point guard Tyrese Haliburton is making a strong case as an All-Star himself. Rookie guard/forward Bennedict Mathurin may have been the steal of the draft. Center Myles Turner is a fantastic shot-blocker and athletic big man capable of some big nights. And it seems as if shooting guard Buddy Hield always kills the Cavs.

Still, the Pacers are a team that’s developing. The Cavs, while still in development, are a team that’s already on the rise, a team with more than playoff dreams. They intend to make some noise once they get there. Taking care of this homestand will go a long way in showing they just might.

Cavs vs. Pacers

  • RECORDS: Cavs 18-11; Pacers 15-14
  • TIPOFF: 7:30 p.m. EST
  • LOCATION: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
  • TV: Bally Sports Ohio
  • INJURIES: Cavs – Rubio (knee) out; Dean Wade (shoulder) out; Dylan Windler (ankle) out; PacersChris Duarte (G League assignment) out; Daniel Theis (knee) out; Kendall Brown (tibia) out.

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