Notebook: Pacers 96, Cavs 81

Posted Dec 13, 2012 5:55 AM

Conrad Brunner, for

THE FACTS: Until their offense comes around, the Indiana Pacers will have to rely on one of the NBA's stingiest defenses. It worked for them Wednesday night as they held Cleveland to 23 points -- a franchise record-low -- and wiped out a 16-point deficit to pull away for a 96-81 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Paul George continued his recent scoring surge with 27 points on 10 of 18 shooting, adding seven rebounds to lead the Pacers, while C.J. Miles scored 28 points for the second game in a row to lead Cleveland. The Pacers snapped a two-game losing streak while the Cavs lost for the fifth time in six games.

QUOTABLE: "We trust what we can do on the defensive end. That's what's got to feed us, that's what our strength is right now, and our offense has to continue to improve."
-- Indiana forward David West

THE STAT: George had not scored at least 20 points in consecutive games in his career but now has done so twice in the last five games, averaging 24.4 points, adding 7.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He's shooting .511 from the field, including .536 from the 3-point line (15 of 28), an impressive jump for a player that averaged 13.5 points in the first 17 games.

TURNING POINT: Cleveland led 58-43 late in the first half but George got the Pacers going, eight points in an 18-0 run bridging intermission that put the Pacers ahead 61-58. In that span, the Cavs missed all 10 of their shots.

QUOTABLE II: "I need to play within the team, know what the defense is giving me while still being aggressive."
-- George

HOT: West scored 18 points with nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocks, while George Hill scored 17 with seven rebounds for Indiana.

NOT: After scoring 28 points against the Lakers in his first game back from a broken finger, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving managed just nine points and four assists and shot 4-of-12. ... Centers Anderson Varejao of Cleveland (0-of-9) and Roy Hibbert of Indiana (1-of-7) combined to make 1-of-16 shots. Small wonder nine of their combined 24 rebounds were on the offensive glass. ... Alonzo Gee was 0-of-7 for the Cavs. ... Indiana's bench combined to shoot 33 percent (7 of 21).

ROOKIE WATCH: Ben Hansbrough, the younger brother of Indiana teammate, Tyler, has been promoted past D.J. Augustin into the backup point guard role. He played 17 minutes, producing six points, two steals and an assist. Cleveland rookie Tyler Zeller, an Indiana native, scored eight points with three rebounds before fouling out in 17 minutes.

GOOD MOVE: Putting the younger Hansbrough in the rotation didn't solve Indiana's second-unit scoring problems, but the group did provide more energy and play with more aggression.

BAD MOVE: Indiana coach Frank Vogel put five reserves on the floor to start the fourth quarter and the Pacers went more than six minutes without a bucket. Fortunately, the defense kept the Cavs from putting together a significant run and the lead was protected.

NOTABLE: Cleveland's 23 second-half points were the fewest allowed by the Pacers in any half since joining the NBA in 1976. ... The Cavs had more turnovers (19) than field goals (eight) in the second half ... Indiana has won five in a row at home from Cleveland. ... Making his second consecutive start, Miles scored 23 in the first half on 6 of 11 shooting, including 5 of 6 from the 3-point line. He scored just five in the second half, going 2 of 7 overall and 1 of 3 from the arc. ... Indiana starting guard Lance Stephenson was carried off the floor early in the third quarter with a moderate ankle sprain. He is not expected to play Friday against Philadelphia. ... The Cavs were without Dion Waiters, who missed his sixth game in a row with a left ankle sprain, and Omri Casspi, who remained at the team hotel with a stomach ailment. ... Hibbert had multiple blocked shots for the 16th consecutive game and tied a season high with 12 rebounds. ... Cleveland scored just 16 points and shot 8 of 33 in the paint. ... Indiana had a 24-6 advantage on the fast break.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Friday vs. Philadelphia, Saturday at Detroit, Tuesday at Milwaukee. For the Cavaliers, Friday vs. Milwaukee, Saturday at New York, Tuesday vs. Toronto.