Game Rewind: Pacers 117, Cavaliers 112
Danny Granger takes a hit from Cleveland's Christian Eyenga on a tough drive to the basket Wednesday night. (David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)
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Pacers avoid becoming slump-busters
By Conrad Brunner
Trying to snap one of the longest losing streaks in NBA history, the Cavs put forth a valiant effort, wiping out a 17-point deficit to take a three-point lead late in the game but the Pacers got big plays from Darren Collison and Danny Granger down the stretch to battle past Cleveland 117-112 before 18,877 in Quicken Loans Arena.
Collison, who had 22 points and nine assists, made a huge 3-pointer on a feed from Granger to put the Pacers up 113-110 with 1:08 remaining. Granger, who scored 11 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, sealed the game with four free throws in the final 17 seconds.
Improving to 2-0 under coach Frank Vogel, the Pacers won for the third time in four games overall, snapped a five-game road losing streak and improved to 19-27 overall, 7-16 on the road. They also swept the season series from the Cavs for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
Cleveland lost its 22nd consecutive game, one shy of the NBA single-season record and two away from the all-time mark of 24, set by the Cavs in the '82-83 and '83-84 seasons. Cleveland fell to 8-41 overall, 5-16 at home, where it as dropped nine in a row. The Cavs have dropped 32 of 33 after starting 7-9.
- "First of all, all of the credit to that team (Cavaliers). They played their hearts out. They are in a tough situation with everything, with LeBron, and with what they are going through. Byron Scott is one of the best coaches I have ever competed against. I just feel for those guys. They deserve to get back on the winning track. I am glad it was not tonight but a lot of credit to them." -- Pacers coach Frank Vogel
- "These guys are believing that everything is changing right now. We are changing our season around. We are changing our team around. They believe that we are on the way back." -- Vogel
- "It was just one of those games that we did not want to lose. We all felt like we had to come together collectively and win this game, especially on the road. Any NBA team can win and we knew what was at stake. They played hard and you have to give them credit." -- Collison
- "We're not happy with the way we played. Certainly on defense we gave up way too many easy baskets but when you get in an environment like this, a team that's lost 21 in a row, that's tough going down the stretch. We made some big plays and we got a win." – Pacers guard Mike Dunleavy
- "It just seems like we were a step late on things. Our ball containment wasn't good. We had too many drives in the paint and this is a team that struggles to make jump shots so we wanted to make them take jump shots, but they were getting into the paint and we were fouling them. It wasn't what we wanted to do.' – Dunleavy
STAT OF THE GAME
Vogel became the first interim coach in Pacers franchise history to win his first two games.
It looked like a blowout early as the Pacers jumped out to a 12-0 lead as the Cavs missed their first 10 shots, and the lead grew to 21-6 midway through the first. A 15-3 run in the second quarter gave the Pacers their biggest lead of the game, 53-36, but the Cavs came to life behind Ramon Sessions and Manny Harris, who led Cleveland's parade to the free throw line as Indiana's lead was trimmed to 59-54 at the break.
Cleveland shot 17 free throws in the second quarter alone, 12 from Sessions and Harris.
The Pacers tried to pull away in the third quarter, building a 76-69 lead midway through but the Cavs would have none of it. They quickly responded with a 16-8 run to take an 85-84 advantage on a three-point play by Sessions – their first lead in four games, and it remained tight the rest of the way.
Jump shots by Harris and Sessions put Cleveland up 108-105 with 3:33 left but Granger drove and drew a foul, making both, and Dunleavy drained a 3-pointer to put the Pacers back in front. Antawn Jamison tied it at 110-all with a baseline drive but then Collison took the kickout from a driving Granger and drilled the clutch 3-pointer.
Christian Eyenga hit a long two-pointer to make it a one-point game but the Pacers came up with fortunate stops on two straight possessions. On the first, no one picked up Anthony Parker but Roy Hibbert stepped up to challenge the drive, altering the shot and forcing a miss. On the next, Sessions drove into the lane and dished to an open J.J. Hickson, who let the pass bounce off his hands.
Both times, Granger wound up with the ball, was fouled and made the free throws.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger struggled from the field (5-of-13) but found ways to get to the line, tying his season highs with 12 makes in 13 attempts. He added five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and four turnovers to his 23 points. Collison shot 9-of-17, adding nine assists, four rebounds, four steals and three turnovers to his 22. Dunleavy shot 6-of-8, including 2-of-3 from the arc, for 15 points. Tyler Hansbrough had 13 points and eight rebounds and Paul George 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting, 3-of-4 from the arc, off the bench. Roy Hibbert (13 points, 10 rebounds) had his 14th double-double.
The Pacers shot .471 overall and .474 (9-of-19) from the 3-point line and dominated the boards once again, 49-32, but their 18 turnovers led to 24 Cleveland points.
Sessions was 13-of-14 from the line for the bulk of his 25 points, adding nine assists. Jamison had 21 points and seven rebounds, Harris 19 points and eight rebounds, and Anthony Parker 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting off the bench. Eyenga had 12 and Hickson 10 for the Cavs, who shot .453 and outscored the Pacers 35-26 from the line.
- In two games under Vogel, the Pacers have committed 43 turnovers but outrebounded opponents 105-70.
- Granger averaged 27.8 points in four games against the Cavs, falling just short of Reggie Miller's franchise record of 29.6.
- Cleveland was the first team in the NBA to win 40 games last season; this season it was the first to lose 40. The Cavs already have more losses than the previous two seasons combined.
- Indiana played its fourth straight game without guard Brandon Rush (ankle).
- Cleveland was without four injured regulars: Mo Wiliams (hip), Anderson Varejao (foot), Daniel Gibson (thigh) and Leon Powe (knee).
The Pacers return home to face LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland Trail Blazers Friday in Conseco Fieldhouse (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). Buy tickets.