Final Dime: Pacers 117, Cavaliers 112
Ramon Sessions scored a season-high 25 points in Wednesday's loss at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
The Cavaliers had plenty of opportunities to snap the longest single-season skein in team history, but couldn’t close – falling for the 22nd consecutive time, 117-112, to the Pacers on Wednesday night at The Q.
For the first time in a while, the Wine and Gold were within striking distance through the fourth quarter, which featured four ties and eight lead-changes. One of those ties came with 1:23 to play, when Antawn Jamison hit a baseline floater to knot the affair at 110-apiece.
On Indy’s next possession, however, Darren Collison canned a three-pointer to put the Pacers back up. Christian Eyenga drilled a high-arcing 19-footer to get Cleveland back to within a point. And seconds later, Danny Granger missed a trey on the other end, giving the Cavaliers a chance to take the late lead.
But Anthony Parker’s runner wouldn’t fall and, after intentionally sending Granger to the line for a pair, trailed by three – 115-112 – with 17 seconds remaining. Attempting to score a quick deuce, Ramon Sessions drove and dished to J.J. Hickson, who couldn’t handle the hot pass.
With 10.8 to play, Granger – fouled once again – split a pair of free throws to seal the deal.
It was the Cavaliers’ most solid effort in some time, but the result was the same. Byron Scott’s reeling young club has now dropped 32 of their last 33 outings. Their last win in regulation came in November.
Sessions led all scorers with 25 points, going 6-for-10 from the floor and 13-of-14 from the stripe. The fourth-year guard led the Cavaliers with nine assists, adding a steal and blocked shot.
“There’s no doubt that that one took a lot out of us,” said Sessions. “For me personally, it took a lot out of me. We felt like we came in and played well. They hit some big shots down the stretch. They played a great game, but we weren’t able to close it out.”
Antawn Jamison followed up with 21 points, going 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Jamison, who scored 15 of his 21 after intermission, pitched in with seven boards, two steals and a team-high three blocks.
Manny Harris notched 19 points and eight boards in his third straight start. Christian Eyenga added 12 and J.J. Hickson, 10, as all five Cleveland starters registered double-figures.
Anthony Parker came off the bench to notch 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including 2-of-3 from long-distance. Parker added four assists, three boards and a pair of steals.
One statistic stood out above all – offensive rebounding. The Pacers grabbed 16 offensive boards to the Cavaliers’ six. The Wine and Gold had just three in the first half, including zero in the second quarter. Those second-shot opportunities eventually proved to be Cleveland’s undoing.
“We did a lot of good things on both ends of the floor, but again, 16 offensive rebounds is way too many,” said Coach Scott. “We talked before this game started about how aggressive and how physical their bigs are, and we had to match that intensity from start to finish. We just didn’t do a very good job.”
The Cavaliers head back out on the road for a Friday night affair in Memphis before returning home to face the Blazers on Saturday night at The Q.
2. The 112 points scored by the Cavaliers was their second-most of the season, behind a 124-point effort on Nov. 5. On Wednesday, the Wine and Gold went 9-for-18 from beyond the arc and tallied a season-high 28 fast break points.
3. In Antawn Jamison’s last six games at The Q, he’s averaging 25.5 points per contest, shooting .517 from beyond the arc.
4. With Anderson Varejao, Leon Powe and Mo Williams in street clothes and Daniel Gibson still nursing a sore right quad, the Cavaliers have now lost 95 combined player games due to injury.
5. In his last four games at The Q, Ramon Sessions is 38-for-43 (.884) from the free throw line. He’s at .829 for the season, still a stretch away from the Cavaliers’ all-time best campaign – Mark Price’s .948 in 1992-93.
6. Over his last four contests, Sessions has dealt 34 assists and committed just seven turnovers. Over his last 18 games, the former Nevada star is averaging 14.6 points and 6.2 assists.
7. For the fifth time this season, the Cavaliers had six players score in double-figures. It was the fourth time that all five starters did so.
8. Former Cavalier, Vitaly Potapenko – drafted 12th overall by Cleveland in 1996 – is now an assistant coach with the Pacers.
9. Since being re-inserted into the starting lineup three games ago, Manny Harris is playing his best ball of the season – averaging 19.7 points and 6.3 boards per contest.
10. Fellow rookie, Christian Eyenga, improves by the game and had a nice floor game on Wednesday night. Along with his 12 points, Eyenga grabbed four boards, dished a career-high five assists, snagged two steals and blocked a pair of shots.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.