On the second night of a back-to-back, playing against a Cavaliers team that hadn’t taken the floor since Sunday, the Pacers notched their biggest win of the season, toppling the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers 124-107 on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena and picking up their third straight victory in the process.
“Our guys executed offensively,” explained Pacers head coach Nate McMillan. “We moved the ball and got it to the open man. We played the game the right way. We talk about that all the time, you play the game the right way and normally good things happen.”
After seeing their 10-point lead chopped down to just three points on a 7-0 run done entirely by James, the Pacers’ offense punched back in force, opening up a 106-96 lead.
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But the Cavaliers (3-5), who had lost three consecutive games entering Wednesday night, charged back once again, narrowing the gap to five points as the home crowd began to light up.
Just as the Cavaliers appeared to be on the verge of breaking the game open in their favor, Darren Collison netted a 3-pointer to push the lead back to eight, forcing the Cavaliers to call a timeout.
With under four minutes remaining, the Pacers (5-3) slowed the game down, bleeding the shot clock before Victor Oladipo got a layup inside for his 20th point of the night, putting Indiana up by nine.
“I just made shots in the second that I didn’t make in the first half,” Oladipo explained. “I mean, it’s the game of basketball. It’s a long game and you’re going to make some shots and miss some shots, you just have to keep shooting.” with confidence.
As the clock wound down, the Pacers got key buckets from Oladipo, Collison, and Thaddeus Young, keeping enough separation between them and the Cavaliers to leave the building with their first win at Quicken Loans Arena in their last nine tries.
In the balanced scoring effort three Pacers players — Collison, Oladipo, and Thad Young — surpassed 20 points, with Domantas Sabonis leading the way on the glass with a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Pacers had it going offensively from the start, finishing the first quarter leading the Cavs 30-28, thanks to an impressive offensive display from Bojan Bogdanovic, who finished the frame with a game-high 10 points. By halftime, Bogdanovic had amassed a game-best 14.
In the second quarter, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan elected to leave Sabonis in with the bench unit. With Sabonis in the game to start the quarter, Indiana outscored Cleveland 10-6, including an impressive and-one from Sabonis with 8:45 left in the half.
With the bench unit still in, Indiana continued to pile points on, hitting 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions, the last of which got the shooter’s touch from Cory Joseph to put the Pacers up 49-40.
After the torrent of scoring, Cleveland put James back in the game, who quickly drew a Flagrant 1 foul on Lance Stephenson as Stephenson swiped at the ball but made too much contact with James. After James hit both free throws, JR Smith canned a 3-pointer, causing a 5-0 swing from the Cavaliers.
But the scoring didn’t stop there. Moments later, a streaking Derrick Rose flew through the lane to cap an 11-0 Cavaliers run, putting the hosts up by two and forcing a Pacers timeout.
To close the first half, Indiana was able to keep pace with the Cavaliers, eventually taking a one-point lead on a slick interior pass from Cory Joseph to Thad Young. With the Cavs unable to get a final shot off in the half, Indiana headed to the locker room leading the Cavaliers by one point.
In the third quarter, after Cleveland grabbed a lead, Indiana’s starting unit began to click again, embarking on an 11-0 run that was capped by an Oladipo 3-pointer — one of his five makes from beyond the arc.
Despite LeBron answering with a 3-pointer of his own, Bogdanovic responded right back with a wide-open three from the wing to put Indiana up 80-72 midway through the third quarter.
By the time the third quarter ended, all five of Indiana’s starters had reached double-figure scoring as Indiana outscored the Cavaliers 30-24 to take a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter.
With a mixture of starters and reserve players in the game, Thad Young stroked a 3-pointer with 10:00 left in the game to extend the Pacers’ lead to 97-87.
After Young’s three, however, James went on a one-man mission, breaking off a personal 7-0 run to bring the Cavs’ deficit down to just three points with 7:08 remaining in the game.
From there, however, it was all Pacers as Indiana outscored Cleveland by 10 in the fourth quarter to notch their third consecutive win, while dropping the Cavaliers to their fourth straight loss.
“We have a lot of selfless guys on this team,” Collison said. “It’s not about any individual on this team, everybody wants the next person to do well, and that’s what it’s about. It’s not about points, rebounds, or assists, it’s about the win.”
Inside the Numbers
Domantas Sabonis set a career high with six assists on the night. He tied his career high of five during the Pacers’ previous game against the Kings.
Darren Collison made 9-of-10 field goals on the night, including all three of his looks from downtown.
As a team, the Pacers shot a scorching 16-of-26 (61.5 percent)from behind the 3-point arc. Cleveland went just 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) from deep.
You Can Quote Me On That
“I thought our guys have done a good job of screening and moving the ball. It puts you in rhythm and you’re normally taking open looks. That’s what we want to be about, executing to our tempo on both ends on the floor, but it starts on the defensive end of the floor. Scrapping, winning the hustle game, and rebounding so we can go out and run.” -Pacers head coach Nate McMillan
“I’ve been watching LeBron since I was a kid. Just watching his work ethic when I saw him work out a couple times in the summer, people think he’s just blessed with all that talent he has. They don’t really see how he really works. That’s one thing I really respect about him, he really works. I realize that in order for me to take the next step is to work. In order to be great you have to watch greatness and follow the steps that they take.” -Victor Oladipo
“We can’t sustain effort for 48 minutes … We’ve got to get in better shape and be more mindful of what’s going on. (There are) a lot of things you can do.” -Cavaliers forward LeBron James
- Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson left the game with an apparent calf strain in the first half. He did not return
- Myles Turner missed his sixth game with a sore neck/concussion
- Indiana snapped a nine-game losing streak at Quicken Loans Arena (Playoffs included)
Stat of the Night
Indiana set a new season-best for team assists, passing out 35 dimes. The Pacers’ season-high prior to Wednesday night was 31 during their win over the Timberwolves.
Away Game Night Special
Indiana Pacers State Hat – $12. Game Night Specials can be purchased online the day of each away game from 10:00 AM – Midnight. Order Online »
Indiana has Thursday off, then aims to extend its winning streak to four games as the Pacers face Joel Embiid and the up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night at 7 PM ET at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Pacers continue their road trip before returning to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday, November 7th to face the New Orleans Pelicans. Find Tickets »
Home Court Gift Shop Game Night Special
Rubber Full-Size Basketball – $10. Game Night Specials can be purchased in the Home Court Gift Shop or any of our souvenir stands located on all levels of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The special is also available online at PacersTeamStore.com until midnight.
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.
Construction Note: The city’s department of public works is replacing the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Street from just north of Georgia Street to Bankers Life Court. Portions of the sidewalk may be closed, but pedestrians should still have access to the Pennsylvania Street entrance of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.–>