The Cleveland Cavaliers travel to Indiana to take on the Indiana Pacers in a showdown of Central Division foes. The Pacers look to start a season 3-0 for the second time in three years while the Cavaliers look to climb above .500. The Pacers have recently dominated the series, but the point guard play of Kyrie Irving could be the difference maker in today’s game.
In the Pacers last game against the New Orleans Pelicans, point guard George Hill left the game with a bruised hip and is now listed day-to-day. If he plays, look for Irving to take advantage of the injured Hill or take advantage of the Pacers backup guard in C.J. Watson. Irving would have the advantage because of his strength and size against Watson.
In the Pacers first two games, Hill has already had to slow down the likes of Pelicans guards Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans. Also, he had to slow down Orlando Magic veteran guard in Jameer Nelson and rookie Victor Oladipo. Hill has already been put to the test and has done a fine job. Irving is up next.
If Hill does play, the Pacers’ offseason has been primarily about building the bench and focusing on matchups. If Hill shows signs of slowing down, the Pacers can move shooting guard Lance Stephenson over to guard Irving and keep Hill on the shooting guard Dion Waiters, who is not as much as a scorer as is Irving, and Hill could find ways to defend Waiters.
As far as offense goes for the Hill and the Pacers, after Hill left the game in the third quarter and returned in the fourth to hit a three-pointer in the comeback win over the Pelicans, it does not appear to bother him on that end to much. However, look for other Pacer players to drive to the basket and Hill to be out on the perimeter. If all else fails for Hill on the defensive end, the Pacers lead the league in blocked shots with 18 in the first two games.
In conclusion, Irving needs to have an All-Star performance if the Cavaliers have any shot of knocking off the Pacers at home.
Justin Logan is an Indiana Pacers writer for Rant Sports. Like him on Facebook.