Pacers Top Cavaliers in OT

Hudson's Heroics Tie Game, But Indy Pulls Away in OT
Antawn Jamison
With the Cavaliers trailing by a deuce with less than ten seconds to play in regulation, the entire arena buzzed with the anticipation of another chapter in the amazing Lester Hudson story.

Hudson didn’t disappoint, slicing to the rim to sink a floater with 1.2 to play, sending the game to overtime. But in that extra-session, even Byron Scott admitted that his shorthanded squad “ran out of gas” – eventually falling to the Pacers, 104-98, on Wednesday night at The Q.

It’s unfortunate for Cleveland that Wednesday’s affair came down to Hudson’s dramatics and the ensuing overtime.

The Cavs fell behind by 10 early in the fourth quarter, but a second-team surge – led by Hudson, Omri Casspi and Samardo Samuels – propelled them to a 18-1 run that gave them a seven-point edge, 86-79, midway through the fourth quarter.

But Indy’s George Hill led a Pacers comeback, knotting the affair at 89 with just under two minutes to play.

Hill split a pair of free throws with 6.5 to play in regulation, giving the Pacers a two-point edge that Hudson erased seconds later.

In overtime, however, the Pacers scored the first five points – eventually extending their lead to eight before holding off the Wine and Gold for the win.

“I have to give my guys a lot of credit,” praised Byron Scott. “I issued a challenge to them about five games ago about continuing to come out here, compete and play hard and they’ve done just that every game since then.

“We ran into a very good basketball team and we battled them tooth and nail all the way to the end.”

Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 21 points on 8-for-18 shooting, tying Tristan Thompson with a team-high eight boards. Thompson was the only other Cavalier starter in double-digits, finishing with 10 points.

Hudson led all bench scorers – netting 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Hudson was 8-of-20 from the floor, including just 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. He added six boards and a pair of assists, but also turned the ball over six times.

“We worked so hard; it’s tough to give 100-percent effort and to come up short,” said Hudson. “It’ll take a toll on you a little bit, but we play them again Friday. We’ll watch what we did wrong and what we did right and try to capitalize on it.”

Samardo Samuels was excellent off Byron Scott’s bench, going 6-of-7 from the floor for 13 points to go with five boards.

Cleveland shot 45 percent on the evening, but just 14 percent from three-point range.

The Pacers featured four starters in double-figures, led by Danny Granger who scored five of his game-high 23 points in overtime.

The Cavaliers get a chance to avenge Wednesday’s loss as they travel to face the Pacers in a home-and-home matchup on Friday night in Indianapolis. That game will be the first of three as the Wine and Gold play their only back-to-back-to-back over the weekend.

  • On a fastbreak early in the second quarter, Semih Erden put on the breaks and twisted his right ankle. He was helped off the floor and into the locker room where he was diagnosed with a sprained ankle. X-rays were negative, but the Turkish big didn’t return to action. He left the postgame locker room on crutches.

  • Wednesday’s game featured the two most-improved teams in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers (36-22) are .163 percentage points better than they were last year; the Cavaliers – now at 19-37 – are .113 points better.

  • Along with the Nets, the Cavaliers have used the most D-League players in the NBA this season – seven.

  • Since the start of April the NBA’s leading second unit scorer is none other than Lester Hudson, who’s averaging 19.0 ppg off the bench since his arrival in Cleveland.

  • Starting point guard Donald Sloan didn’t turn the ball over in 23 minutes of action on Wednesday – while going 4-for-6 from the floor and handing out six assists. In his six starts, he’s averaging just 1.3 miscues per contest.

  • The matchup vs. Indiana is the Cavs’ second game of seven in nine nights. The last time they packed the schedule like that was April 6-14, 1999 – in the strike-shortened season.