Wrap-Up — After dropping three straight, the Cavaliers were determined to turn up their defensive intensity against a surprising Pacers team at home. But Indiana proceeded to score at least 30 points in every quarter, squashing Cleveland’s comeback attempt and pulling away to hand the Wine & Gold their fourth consecutive loss – 124-107 – on Wednesday night at The Q.
Every member of Indiana’s starting five notched double-digits and the Pacers shot 62 percent – 16-for-26 – from beyond the arc. The Cavaliers did some good things offensively, but turnovers and porous D proved to be their undoing.
The Cavaliers barely led in the second half and got only within three in the fourth quarter as the Pacers – who handed out 35 assists on 47 made baskets – won their third straight game overall, snapping a nine-game losing streak at The Q in the process.
Adding insult to injury, the Cavaliers lost Tristan Thompson to a left calf strain in the second quarter. He was forced to leave the game and will be evaluated before the Wine & Gold depart of Washington D.C. for a big Friday night meeting with the Wizards.
LeBron James led everyone with 33 points, going 14-for-22 from the floor to go with a game-high 11 assists, six boards and a block. Unfortunately, James was also responsible for eight of Cleveland’s 16 miscues.
Derrick Rose, in his second game back in the lineup after recovering from a left ankle sprain, had his best game as a Cavalier – following up with 19 points on 9-for-13 shooting, adding four boards and an assist.
Kevin Love notched his seventh double-double in eight outings on Wednesday night – finishing with 13 points and a game-best 13 boards, going 4-of-12 from the floor, adding three assists and a block.
Jeff Green rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with an extremely efficient night off the bench – chipping in with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, adding three rebounds and a pair of steals in 20 minutes of work.
Thaddeus Young scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead the new-look Pacers – the 11th-year forward went 12-for-18 from the floor, adding six boards and four steals.
Cleveland’s transition defense still needs work – especially with John Wall on the horizon – as the Pacers outscored the Cavs, 16-6, on the break. The Cavaliers still shot 50 percent from the floor, but just 23 percent from long-range in the loss.
LBJ notches 33 points and 11 assists while DRose chips in 19 points as Cavs fall to Pacers at home.
Turning Point — The second-half story was a familiar one for the Wine & Gold – who took a three-point lead early in the third quarter only to see the Pacers make a run that put them back in the driver’s seat on Victor Oladipo’s pair of three-pointers.
The Cavs found themselves down double-figures – 97-87 – early in the fourth, but LeBron James, who scored 14 of his 33 in the final period, got Cleveland back to within three with just over seven minutes to play.
But Oladipo ignited another Pacers run with a triple, keying a 7-0 run that put Indy back up 10 and gave them enough room to hold on for the win.
By the Numbers – 8 … points that LeBron needs to become the seventh player – and the youngest – to reach 29,000 for his career. With his 33-point outing on Wednesday, James becomes just the fifth player since 1963 to post at least 400 games of 30-plus.
Quotable – Kevin Love, on Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers …
”We did a lot of good things out there tonight. We just have to play better basketball. That team over there, the Indiana Pacers, are playing great basketball right now with a lot of confidence and that’s what we need to get to. We felt like a lot of the night, we did some good things. We did some not so good things, too. Overall, we were better, but it just wasn’t enough. We need to be better.”
Up Next — After Wednesday night’s loss at The Q, the Wine & Gold hit the road for their biggest Eastern Conference matchup so far – traveling to the nation’s capital to take on John Wall and the Wizards this Friday night. The Cavs come home for a pair following that marquee matchup at Capital One Arena – taking on the Hawks on Sunday afternoon and welcoming the Bucks to Cleveland on Tuesday. After that, the Cavaliers head out for their longest trip so far – a four-gamer that takes them to Houston next Thursday night, followed by visits to Dallas (11/11) and New York (11/13) before wrapping up on November 15 in Charlotte.
Calls of the Game