Yes, J.B. Bickerstaff went deep into his bench early and yes, many regulars on both sides didn’t see action. But there’s no denying Cleveland’s impressive victory on Friday night in Indy – jumping on the Pacers early and never looking back.
The Wine & Gold came into the season looking to improve from three-point range, and in the final tune-up before opening the 2021-22 campaign on Wednesday night in Memphis, the Cavs drained six of their first seven triples en route to a 110-94 win over the Pacers at the newly-renovated Gainbridge Arena.
Coach Bickerstaff stated all week that – with the roster needing pared down before the opener -- he intended to take a look at some reserves on Friday night. And he did exactly that. Evan Mobley led all starters with 14 minutes of work and the Cavaliers finished with 92 points off the bench.
The Pacers dropped Cleveland at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse one week ago, but the Cavs – who were without the services of Collin Sexton (shoulder) and Dylan Windler (hip) – jumped on them early on Friday, running out to a double-digit lead after one quarter and improving their edge to as much 23 points in the third.
Cedi Osman led the Cavs second unit with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-7 from long-range, adding three boards and a pair of assists.
Dean Wade followed up with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting, 2-of-4 from deep, to go with seven boards and a pair of steals. Mitch Ballock added 12 points of his own, going 4-of-6 from the floor, 3-of-5 from three-point range.
Overall, the Cavs drilled 13 triples, shooting 41 percent from deep.
Kevin Love rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures – going 4-of-5 from the floor, connecting on two of his three long-range attempts in just under 10 minutes of work off the bench.
Pacers second-year big man Goga Bitadze led all scorers on Friday night, finishing with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Indiana was without Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and Caris LeVert.
The Cavs wrap up the preseason with a 2-3 mark and begin the regular season on Wednesday night at FedEx Forum. Next Friday, the Wine & Gold welcome the Charlotte Hornets to Cleveland for the home opener.
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Jarrett Allen rises up and throws it down in the first quarter against the Pacers.
CALLS OF THE GAME
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.