Player of the Game
Steady veteran produced his fourth straight double-double and 30th of the season with 19 points and 15 rebounds, adding five assists and two steals.
Cavs 56, Pacers 30
Cavs 17, Pacers 8
Cavs 19, Pacers 18
Points off turnovers:
Cavs 22, Pacers 15
Pacers 71, Cavs 71
Cavs 28, Pacers 23
Stat of the Night
END RESULTTrailing by 18 early in the fourth quarter, the Pacers needed more than a spark to get back in the game against the best team in the Eastern Conference. They got a blowtorch from their young threesome of A.J. Price, Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert, who brought them almost all the way back before falling just short at the finish, 99-94, Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The three combined for 17 points in a 22-5 run that cut the Cavs' lead to 88-87 but the Pacers would get no closer as LeBron James took over, finishing off his 32-point, nine-rebound, nine-assist game with three straight scores to answer the Indiana run.
In the absence of leading scorer Danny Granger, out with an upper cheek injury, Roy Hibbert had 20 and Troy Murphy posted his fourth straight double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds for Indiana.
IMPACTDespite the impressive performance, the Pacers lost their ninth straight on the road, falling to 22-46 overall and 7-30 away from Conseco Fieldhouse. They also lost their 10th straight in Cleveland, a streak that dates back to 2004. The Cavs won their fifth in a row overall and seventh straight at home to improve to 54-15, 30-4 in the friendly confines.
KEY MOMENTSWith Shaquille O'Neal out and Zydrunas Ilgauskas not yet re-signed, the Pacers worked their primary matchup advantage right away with Roy Hibbert in the post and he scored 10 in the first quarter. The Cavs were leading 37-31 early in the second when five different players scored in an 11-0 run that gave the Pacers a 42-37 lead. But the Cavs countered, closing the half on a 13-6 burst to take a 50-46 lead into the break.
James was relatively quiet in the first half but came out aggressively in the third, sparking a 16-2 run with nine points as the Cavs threatened to break it open, taking a 66-50 lead. But Price and Mike Dunleavy played well off the bench to keep things from getting further out of hand.
Price and Rush got the fourth-quarter run started with 3-pointers as the Pacers started their comeback with James on the bench but continued it after he returned. Earl Watson's jumper cut it to 88-87 with 4:53 left and the Pacers got the ball back with the chance to take the lead. But James blocked Rush's drive and that ignited the Cavs, who scored seven in a row to take a 95-87 lead.
Again the Pacers countered from long range as 3-pointers from Rush and Price cut it to 97-93 but James made a tough shot in the lane with 1:08 left and the Pacers could only produce one free throw on their final two possessions.
BY THE NUMBERSHibbert was a major factor with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, adding five rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes. Murphy made 4-of-7 from the 3-point line and had 19 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and two steals. Price had 14 points, six assists and four rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. Rush scored 13 and blocked four shots and Dahntay Jones scored 10 with six assists.
James was 11-of-24 and found up one rebound and one assist shy of a triple-double, though he did have six turnovers. Antawn Jamison scored 17 with nine rebounds, while J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao had 13 apiece.