Pacers Rally Past Cavaliers
Wrap-Up – It was déjà vu all over again for the Cavaliers, but it doesn’t sting any less.
The Wine and Gold went into the final period of Tuesday’s Central Division matchup with a 20-point lead, but the Pacers exploded in the final nine minutes of the fourth quarter, going on a 17-0 run and handing the young Cavaliers yet another painful loss, 99-94, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indy.
Some controversial calls (and non-callls) down the stretch – including a questionable charging call on Kyrie Irving with 16.8 to play – didn’t help, but Cleveland still couldn’t manage to match the Pacers’ intensity in the fourth quarter and for the fourth time this season, the Cavaliers couldn’t cling to a 20-plus-point second-half lead.
Irving led both squads with 29 points and seven assists, but he also committed eight miscues. Tyler Zeller, returning to his home state, finished with 18 points, six boards and a pair of blocks. Tristan Thompson added 10 points and seven boards and Shaun Livingston notched 10 off the bench before fouling out late in the fourth.
Cleveland shot 46 percent from the floor, but the Pacers made 46 trips to the free throw line to the Cavaliers’ 15.
Turning Point – Up until the final nine minutes the turning point for the Cavaliers was the third quarter – not their forte this season – when they outscored Indy, 31-16. But the Pacers ruined that with a massive push, with George Hill and Lance Stephenson propelling the Pacers to close the game on a 29-6 run.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving –After struggling mightily from the floor over his last three games, the sophomore sensation bounced back with a big game – going 10-for-20 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the stripe. The Cavaliers’ Mr. Fourth quarter nearly saved the day again on Tuesday, but a tough call in the closing moments negated his heroics.
By the Numbers – 34 … Games decided by six points or less for the Cavaliers this season, tied with the Portland TrailBlazers for tops in the NBA.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, on the Pacers outscoring the Cavs, 33-7, on the break in Tuesday's loss …
“Our transition (defense) was a joke. We didn’t get back – and that’s the bottom line.”
Up Next – The end of the 2012-13 season is rapidly approaching, beginning with the second-half of a Central Division back-to-back on Wednesday when the Cavs welcome the Pistons to The Q. The Knicks roll in on Friday night and Cleveland travels to the City of Brotherly Love for a Sunday matinee with the Sixers. On Monday, the Heat make their final appearance at The Q and the Cavs wrap up the regular season on Wednesday night in Charlotte.