NBA Basketball

Pacers-Cavaliers Preview

The Cleveland Cavaliers own the worst record in the NBA and haven't won a game since Dec. 18. The last team they defeated was the Indiana Pacers.

Host Cleveland looks to halt a nine-game slide when it again faces Indiana on Tuesday, and the rematch comes three weeks to the day since the Cavaliers stunningly posted a 92-91 road win over the Pacers.

Things have deteriorated badly for Cleveland since that contest. The Cavaliers have lost by 20 or more points on five occasions during the nine-game skid. Their last three losses - all at home - have been by 25, 26 and 35 points.

Cleveland wasn't very competitive in Saturday's 133-98 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

"It definitely tests your character," center Tristan Thompson said of blowout losses piling up. "If you love the game and you care about being a competitor, you're going to hate times like this. You're going to have sleepless nights and it's going to mess with you."

Cavaliers coach Larry Drew said he intends to shake up the lineup against the Pacers. He isn't interested in a repeat of what transpired in the first three contests of the four-game homestand.

"We can't continue to go at this rate," Drew told reporters after Saturday's debacle. "I refuse to. It's important these guys understand that, one, this is not acceptable and, two, I'm not going to let this continue at this pace. I've got to do something different."

Cleveland forward Larry Nance Jr. notched double-doubles in both games against the Pacers this season - Indiana won the first meeting 119-107 on Oct. 27 - and collected a career-best 16 rebounds in the Dec. 18 win.

While the Cavaliers are struggling, Indiana is on the other side of the spectrum with 13 wins in its past 16 games.

The Pacers had a six-game winning streak snapped on Sunday when they dropped a 121-105 road decision to the Toronto Raptors.

Indiana was just 4 of 17 from 3-point range while the Raptors were drilling 17 of 33 attempts. The loss left the Pacers 2 1/2 games behind first-place Toronto in the Eastern Conference but it was the club's fifth straight loss to the Raptors and 14th in the past 16 meetings.

"Hopefully this will be eye-opening for us," Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo said, "and we will realize we've got a lot of work to do if we want to get to where we want to be."

Oladipo scored just 16 points against Toronto one game after matching his season best of 36 points and hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left in overtime to give the Pacers a 119-116 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Backup forward Domantas Sabonis had 16 points and 11 rebounds versus the Raptors for his team-leading 18th double-double. Sabonis has started the past two games - his first times among the starting five this season - and has double-doubles in each.

Center Myles Turner (shoulder) hopes to return to the lineup. Turner broke his nose against the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 31 and played 26 minutes against the Bulls on Friday before sitting out against Toronto.

Cleveland guards Rodney Hood (Achilles) and Matthew Dellavedova (foot) could be available. Hood missed the New Orleans contest while Dellavedova sat out the past two games.

Also, the Cavaliers signed point guard Cameron Payne to a 10-day contract on Sunday and waived guard Patrick McCaw, who had joined the club one week earlier.

Updated January 7, 2019

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