Cavs Crush Pacers at The Q
Wrap-Up – As the month of March wraps up and the playoff push hits high gear, the Wine and Gold are playing some of their best basketball, and that trend continued on Sunday afternoon, as the Cavs throttled the Eastern Conference’s top team – topping the Pacers by two touchdowns at The Q.
All five starters plus Matthew Dellavedova notched double-figures for the Cavaliers, with Dion Waiters leading the way with 19 points on 9-for-20 shooting. Tristan Thompson doubled-up up with 12 points and a game-high 16 boards. Luol Deng finished with 15 points, five boards and three assists and Spencer Hawes added 13 points and five boards of his own. The point guard duo of Jarrett Jack and Dellavedova netted 11 points apiece – with Jack leading both teams with nine assists and Delly equaling Indy’s best distributor, George Hill, adding six helpers in the victory.
The news wasn’t all good for the Cavaliers on Sunday, with Anderson Varejao missing the entire second half after straining his right shoulder two minutes before intermission.
Cleveland held the Pacers to 37 percent shooting from the floor and forced 16 turnovers that led to 22 Cavalier points. The Wine and Gold have now won four of their last five games – including three straight over Central Division foes – while the Pacers, who still lead the East with a 55-22 mark, have dropped four of their last five.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers were fresher and more physical than Indiana right from the opening tip, but they were also able to ward off every Pacer run all afternoon. The Cavs led by 13 at intermission, but the Pacers started the second half on an 11-4 run and were within a half-dozen halfway through the period. But instead of wilting under the pressure, Cleveland answered with an 8-0 run – powered by Spencer Hawes’ trey and a pair of jumpers from Tyler Zeller and Dellavedova. Cleveland closed the third period up 15 points – and Indiana didn’t crack their double-digit deficit for the rest of the game.
Game Ball – Tristan Thompson – The third-year forward was solid on both ends of the floor all afternoon – grabbing six of his 16 boards off the offensive glass, adding a dozen points, a pair of steals and an assist, all while battling with Indy’s David West. It was Thompson’s career-high 32nd double-double of the season and the third time this year that he’s grabbed at least 16 rebounds in a game.
By the Numbers – 6 … games in the month of March that the Cavaliers have had six players notch double-figures in a game. They’ve done so 12 times all year.
Quotable – Dion Waiters, on the Cavaliers going toe-to-toe with an Eastern Conference heavyweight …
”It’s playoff basketball. (Indiana) is still playing for seeding and we’re trying to get into the playoffs. Coming in, we knew they were a physical team; one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. At the end of the day, we just came out there and threw the first punch. We weren’t on our heels early in the game and we just stayed with it.”
Up Next – The Wine and Gold have just seven games remaining – and they could all be huge headed down the stretch. They hit the road for a pair this week – taking on Orlando on Wednesday night before a Friday night meeting with the Hawks in a game that could decide both teams’ playoff fate. The Cavs return to The Q for a Saturday night matchup against the Bobcats before getting a rare three-day respite. When they return to action, Cleveland faces Detroit on Wednesday night at The Q.
Watch Highlights: Cavs 90, Pacers 76