Cavs Bounce Back, Belt Pacers
After missing the previous three games with a concussion, this June’s top overall pick netted 12 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter and the Wine and Gold coasted to the 98-87 win over the struggling Pacers at The Q.
In his first game back, Irving went 8-of-12 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from long-distance, adding five assists, three boards and just a single turnover in 37 minutes of play.
“I’m 100 percent,” asserted Irving. “It doesn’t mean that because I had a prior concussion that my game is going to change in any way. I had the same aggressiveness.”
The Cavaliers lost Anderson Varejao with a fractured wrist in a home loss Friday night and looked completely listless the next night against Philly. But the Cavaliers were a rejuvenated group with their starting point guard fully mended and went wire-to-wire over a Pacers team that’s now dropped five straight.
Other than a rough patch to start the fourth quarter, it was all Cavaliers on Wednesday night. They led by a dozen after one quarter and 18 at intermission. Indy made a late run, but didn’t close the gap to single-digits until under a minute to play.
Semih Erden, starting in place of the aforementioned Varejao, had easily his best outing of the season – finishing with a career-high 18 points and season-high eight boards. The Turkish big man outdueled his All-Star counterpart, Roy Hibbert, for most of the evening.
“On both ends of the floor, he was more aggressive and that’s the one thing we want him to be,” praised Coach Scott. “We want him to try to be assertive when he’s out there on both ends of the floor. I thought tonight he was a little bit more comfortable and confident in doing that.”
Antawn Jamison finished with 13 points, eight boards and a pair of blocked shots and Omri Casspi barely missed a double-double with 10 points and a season-high nine boards.
Ramon Sessions came off Cleveland’s bench to go 5-for-5 from the floor – including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc – adding four boards, four helpers and a pair of steals.
The Cavaliers’ extended homestand continues on Friday night, when they welcome the Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat to The Q.
“It’s frustrating, first of all,” said Gibson after the win. “I felt like I was getting back into the groove and was feeling good and then something like that happens, but I’m proud of the team. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”