The Cleveland Cavaliers are back at home, Quicken Loans Arena, tonight to face the Indiana Pacers. The Q was once, not too long ago, a place where few could beat the Cavaliers. Just two seasons ago, Cleveland was 39-2 at home. Now, losers of 21 straight games, the Cavaliers will take a win anywhere.
Indiana comes to town with a new coach hoping for a new start to the season. Indiana has struggled nearly as much as the Cavaliers since December 1, which led the team to fire Jim O'Brien and replace him with assistant Frank Vogel. Vogel was victorious in his debut - a 104-93 win over the Toronto Raptors - on Monday night.
"I'm obviously ecstatic," Vogel said. "We got a win and got off to a good start to a new beginning."
Rookie Paul George and Darren Collison each notched 16 points for the Pacers, winners in two of the last three games overall. After missing two games with pneumonia, Tyler Hansbrough collected 14 points and six boards for the victors and Danny Granger scored 11 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out five assists.
The Cavs, meanwhile, continued their losing ways in Miami on Monday when Dwyane Wade poured in 34 points and pulled down seven rebounds, as the Heat dealt Cleveland its 21st consecutive defeat in a 117-90 victory. Former Cavs superstar LeBron James added 24 points and eight assists against his old team.
Cleveland, which is 8-40 overall, was the first team to reach 40 wins in 2009-10 with James, the reigning two-time NBA MVP. Without him, the club was the first to 40 losses in 2010-11.
Antawn Jamison had 21 points and 10 boards against Miami to pace the struggling Cavaliers, who are just two games away from tying the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and 1997-98 Denver Nuggets for the longest losing streak in a single NBA season.
Manny Harris donated 20 points and five rebounds for Cleveland, which has also lost 24 consecutive road games and 31 of 32 overall. J.J. Hickson added 14 points and nine boards in defeat.
"I think we have to come out with more intensity and more effort," Harris said.
The Cavaliers, who fell to 3-25 on the road this year, haven't tasted victory since beating New York in overtime on Dec. 18. Cleveland's last win away from Quicken Loans Arena was on Nov. 9 versus New Jersey. The Cavs' previous club record for futility in one season was set in 1981-82 when that team dropped its final 19 games. Cleveland also went on to lose the first five in 1982-83 for an NBA-record 24-game skid.
The Pacers have won four straight over Cleveland after losing 13 of the previous 14 meetings in the series.