Notebook: Pacers 99, Cavaliers 89



Posted Dec 22, 2012 12:05 AM

By Brian Dulik, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Center Roy Hibbert scored a game-high 18 points and power forward David West collected 15 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 99-89 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena. Shooting guard Lance Stephenson added a season-best 16 points and a career-high seven assists for Indiana (15-12), which has won five of its last six games. Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving scored 17 points, while power forward Tristan Thompson had 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. The Cavaliers (5-23) have lost six straight contests.

QUOTABLE: "Lance [Stephenson] was great tonight and really gave us a spark with his offense. We know he's as fast with the basketball as anybody in the league, but he also played really solid 'D' for the most part tonight."

-- Pacers coach Frank Vogel

THE STAT: The Cavaliers have lost 17 straight games against Central Division opponents, including all eight this season. Their last in-division win came on Feb. 21, 2012, against Detroit. "Everyone is frustrated and everyone has the right to be," Irving said. "We just have to have consistent effort on both ends of the floor -- and come out and stop making excuses because we're young." Overall, Cleveland is 1-11 in its last 12 games, 2-15 in its last 17 contests, and 3-21 in its last 24 games -- putting it on pace for the worst season in franchise history.

TURNING POINT: Indiana outscored the Cavaliers 33-22 in the third quarter, emphatically erasing its one-point halftime deficit. Pacers small forward Paul George, who did not score in 15 first-half minutes, erupted for eight points and four steals in the period. "I felt their wings were a little comfortable out there in the first half when the refs took me out of the game," said George, who finished with 10 points, four assists, and a team season-high five steals. "In the second half, that was just me being aggressive going at them."

QUOTABLE II: "I wish I knew how to fix this. We're right there for most of the game, and then we have a lapse and fall apart. We've got to find a solution to that and just put four quarters together."

-- Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller

HOT: Pacers shooting guard Gerald Green scored 14 points in 16 minutes off the bench, including a rim-rocking slam over Cavaliers power forward Samardo Samuels early in the fourth quarter. "That was one of the best dunks I've ever seen, which is also what the guys in the locker room were saying," Vogel said. "Two games in a row, he's given us big lifts off the bench with our scoring." Former NBA Slam Dunk champion Green -- fresh off a season-high 21-point outing against Utah -- later sprained his left ankle, but is expected to play Saturday at New Orleans.

NOT: Irving shot 5-for-16 from the floor with five assists and a game-high six turnovers in 35 sloppy minutes. Over his last five games, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year has 22 assists and 26 turnovers -- all Cavaliers losses. "I'm still trying to find that balance where I get everyone involved," said Irving, who is averaging a team-high 23.2 points. "It's frustrating at times, but it's a process." ... Pacers power forward Tyler Hansbrough was 0-for-3 from the field with one technical foul, one double-foul and two turnovers in 13 minutes in a reserve role.

QUOTABLE III: "I don't rank my dunks. I got the ball on the perimeter and my team just kind of gave me the whole side of the floor -- and I got the dunk. I was just trying to stick up for Tyler [Hansbrough] after he got that tech [13 seconds earlier]."

-- Pacers shooting guard Gerald Green

GOOD MOVE: Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao (right knee bruise) was held out for a second straight contest and will not return to action until Dec. 26 at Washington. The mop-topped Brazilian leads the NBA in rebounding at 14.4 per game, but fell hard to the court on his right knee Tuesday against Toronto. "It's better for Andy to miss three games now than 33 games or 43 games or whatever down the road," Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. "I know he doesn't want to miss any games, but my goal is to get that knee as healthy as possible."

BAD MOVE: Scott called on Kevin Jones as the Cavaliers' first post player off the bench, but the rookie power forward failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Jones had two points, one assist and two fouls in nine minutes -- and was repeatedly victimized by West. ... Cleveland's only free agent acquisition of the summer, shooting guard C.J. Miles, missed seven of his 11 field goal attempts and is shooting 38.4 percent on the season. ... Cavaliers shooting guard Daniel Gibson and Hansbrough were assessed technicals for their fourth-quarter jawing match.

NOTABLE: Cavaliers rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters had a game-high tying seven assists, while small forward Alonzo Gee grabbed zero rebounds in 32 minutes. ... Cleveland power forwards Jon Leuer and Luke Walton dressed but did not play. The same was true for Pacers point guard D.J. Augustin. ... The Cavaliers have won one home game in October, November and December, making them 3-9 on the season. ... Irving and Thompson continue to play with protective masks for Cleveland. ... Indiana small forward Danny Granger (left knee soreness) has yet to play this season and remains out.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Saturday @ New Orleans, Wednesday vs. Chicago, Dec. 28 vs. Phoenix. For the Cavaliers, Saturday @ Milwaukee, Wednesday @ Washington, Dec. 28 vs. Atlanta.