Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 89, Cavaliers 74
Scott Agness | November 2, 2013
Just three games into the season, the Pacers faced both a divisional rival and the first real test of their depth, thanks to an unexpected scratch from the starting lineup on Saturday night.
The Pacers won every quarter and outscored the Cavaliers (1-2) by nine in the second half in their 89-74 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. With the victory, the Pacers improved to 3-0 and are one of two teams in the Eastern Conference still undefeated – along with the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers, of all teams.
Pacers point guard George Hill is dealing with a sore left hip, which he suffered in New Orleans, so he was in street clothes. The Pacers want to play it safe with Hill and give the hip time to heal with two sets of back-to-backs next week. C.J. Watson started in his place and was steady in his 32 minutes. Donald Sloan saw the court for the first time as a member of the Pacers at backup point guard. He scored four points and had three dimes in his 17 minutes on the floor.
With the Cavaliers playing for the second consecutive night, big man Andrew Bynum was held out. As a result, the Pacers made a concerted effort from the tip to feed Roy Hibbert in their half-court sets. In fact, they went to him on their first three opportunities and he scored six of his 11 points in the opening period.
The Pacers led by as many as 11 in the first half, but their seven turnovers in the second quarter allowed the Cavaliers to hang around. The Cavs boosted their tempo and nearly half their points in the second (10) were scored on the run. Dion Waiters had 15 in the first two quarters and brought his team within three, scoring nine points during a 12-4 run. At the half, the Pacers possessed a 43-37 lead, led by nine points each from Hibbert and Lance Stephenson.
Paul George erupted for 13 points in the third quarter, with three outside shots and a couple more two-handed slams. The Pacers upped their lead to 13 but a poor close to the quarter, giving up six straight points. Their double-digit lead had shrunk to seven.
The Pacers poured it on in the final stanza, led by Stephenson, who was in a zone. He scored 13 of his 22 points, which tied his (regular season) career-high. Ahead by 17 with less than four minutes to go, coach Frank Vogel sent Chris Copeland on the floor for the first time of the season, much to the crowd's delight.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George recorded his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Orlando Johnson added seven points and six rebounds off the pine.
Lance Stephenson, who finished with 22 points, drained a career-high five 3-pointers (5-for-7) in the win.
Dion Waiters scored a team-high 17 points for Cleveland, but just two came in the second half. Kyrie Irving was responsible for 15 points and Anderson Varejao chipped in 14.
Adding another nine points to the tally, the Pacers have outscored their opponents by 42 points in the second half over three games.
The Pacers had a +14 rebounding margin and they limited the visitors to 24 points in the paint. Offensively, they assisted on 24-of-32 field goals while turning it over 21 times, which led to 18 points. Watson had a team-best six assists.
“We’re competing for a one-seed. We said from the opening day of training camp, that’s what we’re going after. … It’s going to be a battle but we’re off to strong start. We’ve got to keep it going.” – Frank Vogel on their 3-0 start
“These guys when the games on the line, they tighten the screws. The defense gets a little tighter and that frees things up on the offensive end.” – Vogel on their second half surges in games
“We’re getting better along the way. Every game we’re improving and we’re learning. We’re taking care of business. We’ve been battled tested already on the road and at home. … We know how important maintaining and having the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs.” -Paul George
“Our chemistry has gotten better, especially from the first couple games of the preseason where we didn’t play that well. I think everyone is starting to learn the learn, and going out there to play and have fun.” – C.J. Watson
“I worked on shooting game speed and I got with a shooting coach and I think he helped me out a lot. I just feel very confident and when I’m ready to shoot, I feel like they’re going in [every] time.” – Lance Stephenson on how his offseason has helped
“They’re a playoff team. They’re an Eastern Conference finals team. Every time we made a mistake they made us pay for it.” – Cavaliers coach Mike Brown
Stat of the Game
The Pacers gave up just six offensive rebounds and two second chance points to the Cavaliers.
- The Pacers have won seven straight and 14 of the last 15 against Cleveland.
- Dion Waiters received a technical foul in the second quarter but Stephenson missed the foul shot.
- Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown attended Butler’s scrimmage today at Hinkle Fieldhouse today to see his son, Elijah, a freshman with the Bulldogs. Elijah and his mom were at the NBA game in a suite.
The Pacers head to Detroit to take on the Pistons Tuesday night at 7:30 PM EST.