Coming off a win against the Atlanta Hawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers seem to have momentum heading into this matchup. The Indiana Pacers, meanwhile, tipped off their 2021 preseason with a blowout 125-104 loss against the New York Knicks. They will now take on the young Cleveland Cavaliers hoping to get off the mark this offseason.
Both teams made a few roster moves in the offseason. The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Lauri Markkanen from the Chicago Bulls, and traded him for Ricky Rubio with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers signed forward Torrey Craig.
The two teams also did a good job of re-signing key players. The Cavaliers re-signed Jarrett Allen, while the Pacers did so with TJ McConnell.
Indiana Pacers Injury Report
The Indiana Pacers head into the season missing some of their key pieces. Star shooting guard Caris LeVert has been suffering from injuries and major illnesses for a while. He is expected to miss the start of the 2021-22 season as well due to a back injury.
Another major missing piece for the Pacers is their small forward, TJ Warren. Warren is out indefinitely due to a foot injury. A timeline for his return has not yet been disclosed. Warren played a big role as a scoring option for the Indiana Pacers in the Orlando bubble.
Apart from these two players, the rest of the Pacers team is healthy heading into their preseason matchup against the Cavaliers. None of their other stars are expected to miss games, but they will likely play limited minutes.
Cleveland Cavaliers Injury Report
The Cleveland Cavaliers have no injuries to report. With a healthy starting lineup and bench rotation, the Cavaliers should have a fully functioning unit heading into the regular season.
The only noteworthy absence from the Cleveland Cavaliers in their preseason games is big-man Tacko Fall, who has been listed as day-to-day for personal reasons.
Indiana Pacers vs Cleveland Cavaliers: Predicted Lineups
As a young team, not a lot of their stars have been given games off to rest in the preseason. So we should expect to see the Pacers to play at full strength in this preseason game.
Given that this is only their second game, there is also little room for projecting what the Pacers could do with their lineup. They have an All-Star caliber big-man such as Domantas Sabonis in the frontcourt and a highly reliable point guard such as Malcolm Brogdon in the backcourt. So there is little they can do to move players around.
Indiana Pacers rookie Chris Duarte had a great debut performance against the Knicks. So it will be interesting to see what he has to offer in the next game if he's given more minutes. TJ McConnell, meanwhile, should continue to be an important piece for the side coming off the bench.
The Cleveland Cavaliers played the same starters from their game against the Chicago Bulls, against the Atlanta Hawks. With relatively heavy minutes played by starters, it is more than likely that this is the formula Cleveland plan to stick with for the preseason as well as the regular season.
Led by Colin Sexton and Darius Garland, the Cavaliers' backcourt is an exciting spectacle. The frontcourt of the Cavaliers is also an interesting project. With the addition of Evan Mobley, their 2021 draft pick, and Lauri Markkanen, the side has two immensely talented players in their rotation.
The availability of Jarrett Allen as a presence in the paint is also a major upside, while Kevin Love could be an effective player coming off the bench for the Cavaliers. Another noteworthy player on the Cavaliers' roster who can provide assistance is Ricky Rubio. With his veteran knowledge, he could provide support at the point guard position.
Indiana Pacers vs Cleveland Cavaliers: Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard: Malcolm Brogdon | Shooting Guard: Justin Holiday | Small Forward: Jeremy Lamb | Power Forward: Domantas Sabonis | Center: Myles Turner.
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Point Guard: Darius Garland | Shooting Guard: Colin Sexton | Small Forward: Isaac Okoro | Power Forward: Evan Mobley | Center: Jarrett Allen.