Pacers Send Cavs To 22nd Straight Loss

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cavaliers' long losing streak is almost history.

Cleveland's slide reached 22 games - one shy of the NBA's single-season record - as Danny Granger scored 23 points and Darren Collison added 22 to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 117-112 win over the Cavaliers, now winless in 2011 and losers of 32 of 33.

Unless they can win on Friday in Memphis, the Cavs (8-41) will match the league's all-time mark for consecutive futility, a record shared by the 1995-96 expansion Vancouver Grizzlies and 1997-98 Denver Nuggets.

The Cavs had several chances to pull out their first win since Dec. 18, but Anthony Parker missed a runner in the lane with 18.8 seconds left and Granger put it away by making four free throws in the final 17.1 seconds.

Ramon Sessions scored 25 points and Antawn Jamison had 21 for Cleveland.

The Cavs fought until the end, something they rarely did while going 0-for-January. This was better, but still not good enough.

Just like comic Bill Murray's character in the movie, "Groundhog Day," it was more of the same on Groundhog Day for the Cavs.

With the score tied 110-all, Collison drained a 3-pointer from the left side with 1:08 left, forcing the Cavs to call a timeout. Christian Eyenga then hit a tough jumper to pull Cleveland within one, and when Parker grabbed a miss by Granger, the Cavs seemed to be in business.

But Parker's short shot in the lane rimmed out, and Granger was fouled. He made both free throws to give the Pacers a 115-112 lead. On Cleveland's next possession, Sessions drove in the paint and drew two defenders before dumping the ball underneath to J.J. Hickson, who fumbled it and the Cavs' chance slipped away.

When the horn sounded, Cavs coach Byron Scott dropped his head and a small but boisterous Cleveland crowd headed toward the exits and another cold ride home.

The Pacers improved to 4-0 this season over the Cavs, and Indiana won its second straight under interim coach Frank Vogel, who replaced the fired Jim O'Brien last week.

Before the game, Vogel joked about not being well known outside the Pacers locker room. He went to lunch on Wednesday with center Roy Hibbert and wasn't recognized.

"People don't know who I am," Vogel cracked. "I'm not surprised. A number of folks came up and asked for Roy's autograph. I may as well have been the ballboy. That's fine with me."

Cleveland has been beyond bad of late. Before taking the lead in the third quarter on Sessions' three-point play with 1:15 left, the Cavs had gone more than 217 playing minutes without holding a lead.

The Cavs' struggles and the remnants of the powerful Midwest blizzard combined to keep people away from Quicken Loans Arena in droves.

The 20,000-seat building was only about one-third filled and it didn't take long for those in attendance to lose interest. The Cavs missed their first 10 shots and fell behind 14-2 before finally making their first field goal. But even when Cleveland does something right these days, it seems to backfire.

Cavs swingman Alonzo Gee powered down the lane and delivered a powerful, two-handed dunk that nearly sent some of his teammates on Cleveland's bench onto the floor. But Gee was slapped with a technical for hanging on the rim, and the Pacers responded by going on a 15-3 run to open a 17-point lead.

The Cavs didn't cave, though.

Manny Harris made a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in the quarter to cap an 18-6 run that pulled Cleveland within 59-54 at halftime. They were within two to start the fourth, and for a while, it seemed as if it would finally be the Cavaliers' night.

They're still waiting for it.

Notes: With heavy snow in the forecast, the Pacers flew directly to Cleveland from Toronto after their game on Monday night. ... A die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan since he was a kid, Scott hasn't decided whether he'll attend the Super Bowl on Sunday in Dallas. The Cavs play the Mavericks on Monday, but Scott isn't sure he wants to deal with the large crowd or being recognized by some Celtics fan. "I just don't like being around one hundred and some thousand people," he said. ... Cavs G Mo Williams has begun on-court activities as he rehabs from a hip injury that has sidelined him for two weeks.
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