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The Cavaliers committed a game’s worth of turnovers in the first half on Wednesday and still led by double-digits at intermission. But their sloppy play cost them in the end – blowing a 19-point second-half lead to have their four-game win streak snapped just before the All-Star Break.
The Pacers came in having lost four straight and it looked like Cleveland would extend their skein to end the season’s first half. But the Cavs just couldn’t hold off Indy’s late charge and dropped the 114-111 decision at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Cavs took a one-point lead, 106-105, with 2:25 to play on Collin Sexton’s second free throw. But Cleveland proceeded to commit three straight turnovers – including back-to-back backcourt violations – and the Pacers took full advantage, taking the lead on Aaron Holiday’s triple and holding it through the closing moments.
The Pacers point guard combo of starter Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. McConnell off the bench tortured the Cavs on Wednesday night.
Brogdon led Indiana with 29 points, going 12-of-15 from the floor and 3-of-3 from long-range. McConnell notched the rare points-assists-steals triple double – finishing with 16 points, a game-high 13 assists and 10 steals, one off an NBA record – while also going 8-of-8 from the floor.
For the Wine & Gold, Collin Sexton topped the 30-point plateau for the second straight game – finishing with 32 points on 12-of-25 shooting, going 6-of-6 from the stripe and netting all his season-high 10 assists before halftime.
On the negative side of his Sexton’s stat sheet were his six turnovers, with JaVale McGee right behind with five off the bench. On the night, the Cavaliers committed a season-high 26 turnovers that led to 35 Pacers’ points.
Jarrett Allen doubled-up in his ninth straight game – finishing with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting, hitting all five free throws and grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds. Allen goes into the Break as the league’s field goal percentage leader at .664.
Dean Wade, who suffered his first loss in five games as a starter, canned his first five three-pointers to finish with 17 points, adding six boards and a pair of assists.
Darius Garland added 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-4 from long-range, to go with five assists, but was forced out of the game midway through the third quarter after suffering a left groin strain.
McGee rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures, chipping in with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, adding six boards and the team’s only blocked shot.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Isaac Okoro drives baseline, elevates, and throws down a huge two-handed dunk over the Pacers defender in the fourth quarter.
There were so many possible turning points to Wednesday’s game – the most obvious being Indy’s 21-8 run to close the third quarter or even Cleveland’s three straight turnovers after taking the lead with just over two minutes to play.
But in a strange way – in a strange game – the tone was set in the first quarter.
The Cavaliers came out swinging on Wednesday and were in complete control of the game when T.J. McConnell began wrecking it in the first quarter – grabbing three straight steals to key a 9-0 run to tie the game.
Cleveland recovered and went on to take a big second half lead, but McConnell would pester the Cavaliers all night and they eventually came apart down the stretch.
By the Numbers - 130 … combined points in the paint by both teams – Indiana, 68; Cleveland, 62 – on Wednesday night.
The Cavaliers (54.1) and Pacers (53.0) are the Eastern Conference’s two highest-scoring teams in the paint. Cleveland has scored at least 50 points 11 times, have topped 60 points four times and notched a season-high 74 on February 5 against Milwaukee.
"We talked about it as a staff. It was pretty shocking that we were up by 10. But we were making shots, and when you’re making shots, it always gives you an opportunity to have an advantage. But it’s hard; we had 19 turnovers in the first half and it’s hard to continue that and survive."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
With Wednesday’s disappointing loss to the Pacers, the Wine & Gold have officially wrapped up the 2020-21 season’s first half.
The Cavaliers begin the second half with a three-game road trip beginning with a March 12 stop in New Orleans to take on Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. Cleveland makes stops in Atlanta and Miami before returning home for a St. Patrick’s Day matchup with the Celtics, the first of four straight at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.