Now that’s how you begin an NBA career.
Even the most optimistic Cavs fans couldn’t have expected rookie Isaac Okoro to have lived up to his nickname – “Ice” – after just one game. But the 19-year-old from Atlanta did just that, scoring on an and-1 with less than a second to play, giving the Wine & Gold the 107-104 victory over the Pacers in a thrilling preseason opener at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
With just over five seconds to play at the score tie at 104-apiece, Indy’s T.J. McConnell missed a short jumper. Cleveland’s Damyean Dotson grabbed the rebound and fed ahead to the streaking Okoro, who was fouled by Rayshaun Hammonds and scored on the layup.
Okoro canned the free throw to seal the deal and was given a celebratory water bottle shower by his jubilant teammates after the final seconds wound down.
Cedi Osman led both squads with 23 points in the win – going 6-of-11 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from long-range and 8-of-9 from beyond the arc, adding five boards and a steal.
Darius Garland finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting to round out the starters in double-figures.
J.B. Bickerstaff got some outstanding production off his bench – with Dotson leading the reserves, finishing with 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, going 5-of-6 from the floor overall. Thon Maker doubled-up with 10 points and 10 boards and Larry Nance Jr. added 10 rebounds of his own to go with seven points.
Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 16 points and 13 boards in the loss.
Isaac Okoro wins it for the Cavs with a lay-up with less than a second left on the clock.
Cleveland trailed by 11 points early in the fourth quarter, but behind Okoro the Wine & Gold clawed back, re-taking the lead on Okoro’s triple with 5:22 to play in regulation.
The Pacers recaptured the lead on their next possession, and it was a dogfight from that point forward – with three ties and three lead-changes in the final 2:51 before Okoro’s heroics put the win on ice.
BY THE NUMBERS
By the Numbers – 16 … points that Isaac Okoro scored in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s win, going 5-for-5 from the floor, including both three-pointers and all four free throws he attempted.
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.
These two squads will face off again on Monday night at the FieldHouse – this time with up to 300 fans in attendance – before the Cavaliers hit the road to close out the four-game preseason schedule, taking on the Knicks next Wednesday and Friday at Madison Square Garden.