Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 3:00 PM ET at Quicken Loans Arena
Game Rewind: Pacers 76, Cavaliers 90
Scott Agness | March 30, 2014
Indiana’s offensive woes continued Sunday afternoon as they concluded a two-game road trip in Cleveland. For the fourth time in five games, they failed to top 78 points and shot below 38 percent for the sixth straight game. The Cavaliers (30-45) were the ones with a balanced attack, featuring six players in double figures, and they were finally able to put an end to a nine-game losing streak in the series. The Pacers (52-22) trailed most of the night, by as many as 21, and suffered another double-digit loss: 90-76.
The first half followed a familiar script for the Pacers. While the Cavaliers scored the game’s first eight points, Indiana missed its first six shots. They then got a small bounce in their step, and were successful in five of their next six trips down the floor. A 3-pointer from Lance Stephenson, who had six in the first quarter, gave them their first lead at 17-16, though it wouldn’t last long. The Cavaliers used a 9-2 spurt to pull back in front and had a five-point lead after the first 12 minutes.
Looking for some offense from the bench, Chris Copeland started the second quarter and scored five quick points. Midway through the quarter, the Pacers trimmed their deficit to one via a 10-2 spurt, but then they managed just two points over the final 5:32 of the half. During that stretch, they were outscored 14-2 and headed into the halftime locker room trailing by 13.
The Pacers burst out to a 7-0 start to the second half, with a deep shot from Paul George and a couple hoops around the basket. That cut it to six, but then they went go through another dry spell. During a four-minute stretch, the Cavs pulled back ahead by double digits by scoring nine unanswered. David West had some success mustering up some offense, scoring eight of his 14 points in the quarter, but the Pacers’ lagged behind, trailing by 15 entering the fourth quarter.
Despite having a game the next night, Pacers coach Frank Vogel wasn’t pulling his starters early in hopes of a late-game rally. Indiana cut it to a dozen on a three-point play from George with 3:08 to play but their efforts came up short.
Vogel admitted postgame that frustration is mounting throughout the locker room as the Pacers' offensive efficiency has dipped way down and many individuals are out of rhythm.
The Pacers have now dropped four of their last five games and five straight away from Indy. What they are going through is much greater than simply a late-season lull. They’re battling problems that have been going on since before the All-Star break, but have grown more concerning in March. On a positive note, they have just one more game left in the month — and that’s tomorrow night at home against the San Antonio Spurs, who have won 17 straight games.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George filled the boxscore with a team-high 15 points, seven rebounds, five steals, and four assists. Lance Stephenson chipped in 11 points and George Hill finished with nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
Dion Waiters led all scorers with 19 points on 20 shots. Tristan Thompson pulled down 16 rebounds (six on the offensive glass) and also contributed 12 points. Jarrett Jack scored 11 points and dished out nine assists.
The Pacers attempted 10 free throws in the first quarter — only making five — but then had just six more attempts over the final 36 minutes.
Cleveland scored 22 points off of 16 Indiana turnovers, eight in each half.
Indiana needs more interior production. In their last four losses, center Roy Hibbert has a total of 21 points (on 7-of-27 shooting), 12 rebounds and 19 fouls.
“I don't know. Obviously we would've fixed it by now if it was something simpler. I thought we took a step, in terms of sharing the ball.” – Frank Vogel on what seems to be the problem
“We’re playing against ourselves right now. It’s a level of play that we’re trying to reach that we’re not close to where we need to be.” – Frank Vogel
“We’re all frustrated. … We just got to win the next game. That’s our only mindset.” – Frank Vogel
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know … what more we can say. We’re trying to go out and perform and play well. We’re just not shooting the ball well as a group and we’re struggling to score offensively. Our defense is doing what it can but you’re just not going to win games if you can’t put the ball in the basket.” – David West on their problems
“We’re losing games at an alarming rate to teams that are inferior to us. And we can’t figure out a way to perform better. We can’t figure out a way to really draw it together. We’ve done what you do. We’ve had team meetings, we’ve had players-only meetings, we’ve had players and the coaches. We’re kind of just looking for answers right now.” – David West
“We just have to play together. If somebody makes a mistake, use that as motivation for the next play. I think we’ll be all right. We’re having a tough stretch, but I think we’ll get through it. We just have to be motivated. We got this far. We can’t let down over the little things. We just have to play through it.” – Lance Stephenson
Stat of the Game
The Pacers shot 35 percent or below in three of the four quarters and the most points they scored in any period were 22 in the third.
- This is the Cavaliers' first win over the Pacers in 10 tries, going back to Feb. 2012.
- In the third quarter, a double technical was handed out David West and Spencer Hawes. West also was given a Flagrant-1 foul.
- C.J. Watson (hamstring) missed his ninth game in a row but, Vogel said pregame that he’s hopeful for his backup point guard to return at the end of this week. Cavs guard Kyrie Irving missed his eighth straight game with a left bicep strain.
- Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao suffered a right shoulder strain late in the first half and didn’t return.
The Pacers host the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The game tips off at 7:00 p.m. ET. Game Preview »