Final Dime: Pacers 116, Cavaliers 113
Sebastian Telfair notched a season-high 21 points in Friday's loss.
David Liam Kyle
On Friday night, despite the meaningless loss, Mike Brown uncovered yet another gem – Sebastian Telfair – who hadn’t suited up for Cleveland until Thursday night and dropped 21 points on the Pacers one night later.
But despite Telfair’s courageous effort, Danny Granger’s two free throws iced the 116-113 win for Indiana, as Anthony Parker’s three-point attempt at the buzzer fell short for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers – who locked up homecourt throughout the postseason on Sunday – haven’t had much to play for this week. And with some high-profile injuries dotting the NBA’s landscape over the past week, the Cavaliers are more than happy to rest some starters until that homecourt comes in handy next week.
Missing from the lineup were LeBron James, Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. James got his second straight night off, Mo earned a Friday night off after dropping 35 points on Chicago one night earlier, and Jamison was nursing a slight ankle injury.
With their three top scorers on the bench, the Wine and Gold gave the red-hot Pacers all they could handle.
The Cavaliers led by three at intermission, but their ranks got even thinner midway through the third quarter when Delonte West drew two quick technicals and was sent to the showers. But that just allowed Telfair – viewed by many as a “throw-in” to the Antawn Jamison trade – to show his stuff.
Cleveland started the fourth up one – 84-83 – but Troy Murphy and Granger began to heat up for Indiana. Telfair was almost as hot, notching nine points and four assists in the final period.
“Almost” is the key word, as Granger scored 13 of his game-high 36 points in the fourth – propelling the Pacers to their ninth win in their last 11 outings. The Cavaliers lost their second straight for just the fourth time this season.
“Being a new guy and being a young guy, you can feel the leadership qualities that he does have,” praised Coach Brown. “Besides that, he is extremely intelligent, he has got a great feel for the game, he has got a great change of gear and he’s worked extremely hard on his mid-range game.”
“When you’re in a good situation, you definitely want to be a part of it,” added Telfair. “I’m here and I would love to stay. I’ve been working hard the last couple of weeks with the coaches. (Because of them), I was definitely prepared to get out there and play.”
J.J. Hickson matched Telfair’s 21 points – going 8-for-11 from the floor and doubling-up with 10 boards and three assists.
Anthony Parker followed up, scoring 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and Jamario Moon pitched in with 15 points, six boards, four assists, two steals and a block.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, looking as comfortable as he has since his return, added 14 points and four boards in 26 minutes off Mike Brown’s bench.
As a team, the Cavaliers were lapped on fastbreak points, 24-12. But they still managed to out-rebound Indy, 47-35, and even shot 86 percent from the free throw line.
The Cavaliers close out the home portion of their schedule on Sunday, when they celebrate Fan Appreciation Day with an afternoon affair against the Magic.
2. The Cavaliers had their 11-game home winning streak snapped on Friday, but still have the league’s best home record at 35-5. This season, they’ve had three separate 11-game win streaks at The Q.
3. Jamario Moon, in his first start of the season, set season-highs in points and assists.
4. The Cavaliers are now 10-4 in the game following a loss.
5. J.J. Hickson registered his fourth career double-double on Friday night. The sophomore sensation has tallied double-figures in eight of his last 10 games and is averaging 13.5 points and 8.3 rebounds over that span.
6. The Cavaliers had won 10 straight over the Pacers at The Q – dating back to November, 2004.
7. Dating back to the start of the 2006-07 season, the Cavs are 27-2 at home on Fridays, the best record in the NBA.
8. Before drawing the ire of referee Marc Davis with 6:49 to play in the third, Delonte West had tied a career-high with 12 assists.
9. In his first two games suiting up for the Wine and Gold, Sebastian Telfair is averaging 14.5 points on 12-for-21 shooting.
10. With Friday’s loss, the Cavaliers close out the 2009-10 season at 12-4 against the Central Division – going 6-2 both at home and on the road.