The Indiana Pacers missed a chance to declare themselves legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference when they dropped a 121-105 decision at Toronto on Sunday, but there is still plenty of room for growth. The Pacers will try to bounce back when they make the third stop of a five-game trip by visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.
Indiana had a six-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday and was outscored in each quarter as Toronto steadily pulled away. "Toronto's a really good team," Pacers center Domantas Sabonis told reporters. "That's why they've been at the top of the east for the last couple of years. The way they are consistent throughout the whole game is something we need to work towards." Indiana takes a step down in competition against the Cavaliers, who own the worst record in the NBA and come into Monday's matchup riding a nine-game losing streak, capped by a 133-98 home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday. "If you love this game and you care about being a competitor, you're going to hate times like these," Cleveland center Tristan Thompson told reporters. "You're going to have sleepless nights, and it's going to mess with you."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Indiana, FS Ohio (Cleveland) LINE: Pacers -10
ABOUT THE PACERS (26-13): Indiana went 4-of-17 from 3-point range on Sunday, with All-Star shooting guard Victor Oladipo missing all four of his attempts from beyond the arc. "They got up 33 threes tonight, we got up 17, they made most of theirs, and we didn't make enough of ours," Oladipo told reporters. "It seemed like we got cold, it's just a tough loss, it seemed like we were exhausted out there, but we just gotta figure it out. Hopefully this will be eye opening for us and we will realize we've got a lot of work to do if want to get to where we want to be." Oladipo is 10-of-36 from 3-point range over the last six games.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (8-32): Cleveland is struggling to keep pace in the second half and coach Larry Drew was fed up enough with the third-quarter struggles to pull four of his five starters less than four minutes into the period on Saturday. "I was just a little upset I couldn't take all five out and put five new ones in there, I only had four guys on the bench," Drew told reporters. "The message was very simple. Those guys were not playing well. Frankly, I had seen enough at that point." Reserve guard Jordan Clarkson led the team with 23 points in the loss and leads the team at an average of 16.9 points.
1. The Cavaliers waived SG Patrick McCaw on Sunday after signing him one week earlier.
2. Pacers C Myles Turner (shoulder) sat out Sunday and is questionable for Tuesday.
3. The visiting team took the first two meetings this season, with Indiana earning a 119-107 victory at Cleveland on Oct. 27.
PREDICTION: Pacers 125, Cavaliers 109 Bet Now
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