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Wrap-Up – Saturday night’s loss was fairly simple. The veteran Pacers are an Eastern Conference Finals team with championship aspirations. The Cavaliers are a young team that’s still trying to get to that level.
Indiana ran out to a double-digit lead midway through the second quarter and the Cavaliers were in catch-up mode all night again. Cleveland cut it to seven heading into the fourth quarter, but the Pacers opened the period on a 19-10 run and cruised to the 89-74 win over the Wine and Gold.
Dion Waiters led the Cavs with 17 points on 7-for-21 shooting, adding a team-high four steals and a pair of rebounds. Kyrie Irving followed up with 15 points and three boards and was the only starter to hand out an assist, with five. Anderson Varejao notched eight of his 14 points in the first quarter. CJ Miles and Jarrett Jack added eight points apiece off the bench.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers clawed back all night and closed the third period with three straight baskets off Indiana turnovers, cutting the Pacers lead to seven. But Orlando Johnson led off the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and when Lance Stephenson drilled another trey four minutes later, the Pacers had upped their edge to 18 and essentially put the contest on ice.
Game Ball – Dion Waiters – Even though 15 of Waiters’ 17 points came before intermission, his aggressiveness kept the Cavaliers in the game during a sluggish first half. Waiters was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc in Saturday’s loss.
By the Numbers – .519 … Jarrett Jack’s team-leading field goal percentage. After going 2-for-4 against Indiana, the veteran guard is 14-of-27 from the floor (and 833 from the stripe).
Quotable – Kyrie Irving, echoing Coach Mike Brown’s sentiments from the previous evening …
” We just had a few too many of ‘my bads’ or ‘my faults’. That kind of adds up during the course of a game and we can’t have that, especially against a good team like the Pacers. We just can’t have those defensive breakdowns going into the fourth quarter. We want to be with teams or ahead of them through our defense.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers come home to face the Timberwolves at The Q on Monday night – the start of a tough stretch that sees Cleveland play four games in five nights, including a home-and-home back-to-back next weekend against the surprising 76ers. Before they travel to the City of Brotherly Love, the Wine and Gold pause for a midweek matchup in Milwaukee.