New-Look Cavs Hold Off Pacers Rally at The Q

Lineup Change Yields Big Results as Cavs Return to Win Column
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Wrap-Up -- The Cavaliers got a desperately needed win on Friday night at The Q – but they sure didn’t make it easy on themselves.

After dropping 11 of their previous 15 games – including their first three meetings this season against Indiana – the Wine & Gold weathered nine fourth-quarter turnovers to hold on for the 115-108 home victory.

Coach Tyronn Lue made a lineup change heading into Friday’s win, but it might have been the one he didn’t make that paid the biggest dividend – choosing not to move JR Smith to the bench after the mercurial guard’s recent struggles.

In response to Lue’s loyalty, Swish went off for a season-high – notching 23 points on 7-for-13 shooting from beyond the arc, adding four steals in the win. The seven triples were also a season-high for Smith, who came into Friday’s tilt shooting 16 percent from long-range over his last seven games.

LeBron James notched his eighth triple-double of the season, and 63rd of his career, leading Cleveland with 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting, adding 11 assists, 10 boards, four steals and a blocked shot. (Technically-speaking, James actually posted a quadruple-double – committing six of his game-high 11 turnovers in a sloppy fourth quarter.)

Offensively, the Cavaliers were excellent through the first three quarters – piling up 73 points before intermission and taking a 17-point edge into the fourth period before nearly giving it all back, with Indiana cutting Cleveland’s lead to just five, 111-106, with under two minutes to play.

Fortunately, the Cavs had just enough in the tank to close the Pacers out late, with LeBron scoring on a layup to put Cleveland back up seven with 52 seconds remaining and Kyle Korver’s two free throws in the closing seconds sealing the deal.

The lineup change that Lue did make was moving Tristan Thompson back into the starting five – and that move also paid off well, with all three frontcourt players notching at least a double-double and Cleveland canning 13 triples in the win.

Thompson doubled-up for just the second time this season – finishing with 10 points and 10 boards, going 5-for-7 from the floor. Kevin Love only attempted eight shots in 32 minutes of work, adding 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas rounded out the Cavaliers starters in double-figures, chipping in with 14 points and five assists. But, like James, Thomas struggled with turnovers – committing five miscues on the night.

JR Smith


Swish scores a season-high to fuel the Cavs victory against the Pacers.

Playing without Dwyane Wade – who missed Friday night’s contest to tend to personal issues – the Cavs still got solid production from their bench, namely Derrick Rose and Jeff Green.

Rose had his best overall game since returning from a left ankle injury that sidelined him for most of the first half of the season – finishing with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including 2-of-3 from long-range in just 15 minutes of work. Green was almost as good, adding 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting.

The Cavaliers shot 56 percent from the floor and handed out 27 assists on the night, outrebounding the Pacers by seven, 44-37, in the victory.

Turning Point -- There weren’t many drastic turning points on Friday night – especially considering that Indiana never led at any point. But the Wine & Gold used the final minutes before halftime to establish a double-digit lead that came in handy as they grew fatigued in the fourth quarter.

With just over four minutes to play in the first half, the Cavaliers led by just three – 53-50. But JR Smith and his teammates got hot right before intermission, with Cleveland canning four triples over that span and LeBron James splashing home a 17-foot turnaround to give the Wine & Gold a 13-point edge heading into the locker room.

In the third quarter, Cleveland extended its lead to 19 before weathering Indiana’s comeback bid in the fourth.

By the Numbers10 ... times in the last 11 games at The Q that the Wine & Gold have handed out at least 25 assists.

QuotableLeBron James, on JR Smith’s big shooting night in Friday’s win …

”He’s just letting it fly. That’s who Swish is, and when he gets going, that momentum and fortune is tough to stop when he gets out there just in a great rhythm. So it was nice to see him really be himself tonight.”

Up Next -- After holding off the Pacers on Friday night, the Cavaliers stay in the Central Division for the next two – welcoming the Pistons to The Q on Sunday evening before heading back to Motown for a Tuesday night rematch. The following evening, Cleveland closes out the month of January, hosting Miami in the second half of the midweek back-to-back. The Wine & Gold stay home for the weekend, gearing up for a marquee matchup next Saturday night against James Harden and the Rockets at The Q.

Calls of the Game

#CavsPacers Postgame Wrap-Up presented by Rocket Mortgage

Cavs.com's Fred McLeod checks in from The Land to wrap-up the Wine & Gold's victory against the Pacers on Friday.

Cavs vs. Pacers - January 26, 2018

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#CavsPacers Postgame Wrap-Up presented by Rocket Mortgage

Cavs.com's Fred McLeod checks in from The Land to wrap-up the Wine & Gold's victory against the Pacers on Friday.
Jan 27, 2018  |  03:31

#CavsPacers Postgame: LeBron James - January 26, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Friday's 115-108 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 26, 2018  |  03:02

#CavsPacers Postgame: Coach Lue - January 26, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Friday's 115-108 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 26, 2018  |  07:24

#CavsPacers Postgame: JR Smith - January 26, 2018

Cavaliers guard JR Smith spoke with the media following Friday's 115-108 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 26, 2018  |  04:35

#CavsPacers Postgame: Tristan Thompson - January 26, 2018

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson spoke with the media following Friday's 115-108 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 26, 2018  |  03:11

#CavsPacers On-Court Postgame: LeBron James - January 26, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with FOX Sports Ohio's Allie Clifton following Friday's 115-108 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 26, 2018  |  02:19

#CavsPacers Postgame: Kevin Love - January 26, 2018

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love spoke with the media following Friday's 115-108 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 26, 2018  |  03:18

LeBron Records Triple-Double In Win

LeBron James posts his eighth triple-double of the season with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists versus the Pacers.
Jan 26, 2018  |  03:34

GAME RECAP: Cavaliers 115, Pacers 108

LeBron James posts a triple-double of 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists to lead the Cavaliers past the Pacers, 115-108
Jan 26, 2018  |  02:31

Jeff Green Pins the Shot Attempt

Victor Oladipo thinks he has an easy layup but Jeff Green is there to deny him at the basket.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:17

KLove Throws Touchdown Pass to LBJ

Kevin Love whips the long outlet pass to LeBron James who deposits the dunk.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:20

LBJ Beats the First Half Buzzer

LeBron James nets the tough jumper before the first half expires.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:23

LBJ Throws Alley-Opp to T.T.

LeBron James and Tristan Thompson work the pick-and-roll to perfection as LBJ feeds T.T. on the high-handoff.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:10

LBJ Dimes T.T. for the Easy Slam

LeBron James throws the pretty no-look bounce pass to Tristan Thompson for the easy dunk.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:30

Cavs Honor 2018 Cavs EveryFAN

Tequila Pennington-Calwise of Cleveland was selected as the sixth annual recipient of the Cavs EveryFAN and was honored at halftime during the Cavs vs. Indiana Pacers game on Friday, January 26.
Jan 26, 2018  |  02:12

DRose Finds Jeff Green on the High-Handoff

Derrick Rose spots a cutting Jeff Green for the pretty reverse alley-oop finish.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:09

Swish Gets Things Going in the 1Q

JR Smith gets off to a fast start against the Pacers, scoring 12 points in the first quarter in this Goodyear 'More Driven' highlight.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:51

LBJ Muscles Home the And-One

LeBron James backs down the Pacers defense and finished the bucket through contact.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:19

Highlight in freeD: KLove with the Deep Triple

Experience freeD with this deep triple by Kevin Love.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:11

Highlight in freeD: LBJ's Reverse Slam

Experience freeD with this highlight and unique angle of LeBron James' reverse slam.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:10

Featured Highlight: LBJ with the Reverse Flush

LeBron James gets past the Pacers defense and throws home the reverse slam.
Jan 26, 2018  |  00:11

#CavsPacers Shootaround: LeBron James - January 26, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the following Friday's shootaround at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Jan 26, 2018  |  04:16

#CavsPacers Shootaround: Kevin Love - January 26, 2018

Cavaliers forward/center Kevin Love spoke with the following Friday's shootaround at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Jan 26, 2018  |  05:51

Tristan on Being Back in the Starting Lineup

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson spoke with the media following Thursday's practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Jan 25, 2018  |  07:45

LBJ on What T.T. Brings to the First Unit

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Thursday's practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Jan 25, 2018  |  05:17

Coach Announces Lineup Change

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Thursday's practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Jan 25, 2018  |  03:27