Friday , Jan , 27 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Cavs, Pacers meet in Indiana

(Sports Network) – Central Division rivals meet when the Indiana Pacers
welcome LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight to Conseco

On Wednesday, the Pacers finally ended the Ron Artest saga, as they shipped
the disgruntled forward to Sacramento for sharp-shooting forward Peja
Stojakovic. The deal had been completed on Tuesday, but Artest reportedly
balked at going to the Kings.

However, after meeting with Indiana brass Artest accepted the deal.

Stojakovic is doubtful for tonight’s contest.

The Pacers come into tonight’s tilt after getting routed by the Cavs, 96-66,
on Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

Stephen Jackson led his team with 17 points, but all of them came in the first
half for the Pacers, who have dropped four straight. Danny Granger posted 12
points and 11 rebounds and O’Neal finished with seven points and 15 boards.

To make matters worse forward Jermaine O’Neal left the game with a groin
injury and could be sidelined up to two months. An MRI on Thursday revealed a
significant tear in his left groin.

If he returns in late March, as expected, the Pacers could have as few as 11
games to make a final playoff push.

Indiana, which plays eight of its next nine at home, is 12-6 at home this

Cleveland, meanwhile, enters on a winning note after James scored 22 of his 38
points in the second half and the Cavaliers used a big fourth quarter to earn
a 106-97 victory over Atlanta on Wednesday at Philips Arena.

Donyell Marshall added 19 points off the bench — 16 of which came in the
final period — and the Cavaliers outscored the Hawks 13-4 over the final four
minutes to come away with their third straight victory.

Cleveland also had a lot of help at the free-throw line, as the Cavs sunk 38-
of-51 attempts from the charity stripe, compared to just 16-of-22 for Atlanta.

The Cavaliers, who will host Phoenix on Sunday, are 8-12 away from home this

Indiana has dropped two of three to the Cavs this season, but has won 12 of 16
and 16 of the last 22 meetings. Cleveland, though, has dropped seven in a row
and 13 of its past 16 in Indiana.