Big Third Lifts Pacers Over Cavs
Tyler Hansbrough scored nine straight points in the third period as the Pacers blew open a tight game at intermission.
The Cavaliers led by as many as 14 in the second quarter and by a deuce at half, but the Pacers closed the second on a 23-11 run. The beat went on in the third – with Indiana outscoring the Wine and Gold, 34-13.
The Cavs’ second unit kept Cleveland competitive in the final quarter, but Indiana pulled away down the stretch. Lester Hudson had a solid game – with seven points and a pair of steals in 19 minutes – but never got a chance to unleash his late-game heroics on Friday.
Omri Casspi led even scoring for Cleveland, which began its lone back-to-back-to-back of the season.
Casspi scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, canning a pair of threes. He finished 5-of-12 on the night, adding five boards.
Another member of the second unit, Samardo Samuels, had a solid night – doubling up with 10 points, 10 boards and a pair of blocked shots before fouling out late in the fourth.
Donald Sloan finished with 12 points and five of the 16 assists for the Cavaliers on Friday night. Antawn Jamison scored all 12 of his points in the first half. He struggled from the floor in the third, but he wasn’t alone.
The Cavaliers shot just 35 percent from the field, including just 16 percent in the decisive third period. On the night, Cleveland committed 19 turnovers, got outscored in the paint, 46-22, and didn’t score a single fastbreak point.
“I thought our defense, in the first half, was especially good the first 20 minutes of the game,” said Byron Scott. “Them getting second chance points was killer; and 19 turnovers for 22 points was a killer.”
“The third quarter is really what got us out of the game,” added Jamison. “But they didn’t do anything different. We knew the game plan coming in. They just stepped it up in the third quarter and we did a bad job of communicating on the defensive end.”
The good news, sort of, is that they’ll get quick redemption – playing two more games in the next two nights. On Saturday, they travel to Washington to face the Wizards before returning to The Q for a matchup with the Magic.
The Lake Erie Monsters had a big night back in Ohio as well – scoring two unanswered goals in the third period to top the Hamilton Bulldogs, 5-3. Coach Quinn’s squad wraps up the regular season on Saturday night at The Q with a playoff spot on the line.