Game Rewind: Pacers 121, Cavaliers 87 (Game 6)

Game Recap

For three straight games, Victor Oladipo seemed to be struggling with his shot.

But with the Pacers trailing the Cavaliers 3-2 and facing elimination, Oladipo rediscovered his touch at the perfect time, delivering a masterful 28-point triple-double as Indiana staved off elimination with a forceful 121-87 statement victory over the Cavs, sending the series to a Game 7 in Cleveland.

"I just got out of my own way and made shots," said Oladipo after the game. "I was shooting the shots I've been shooting all year, just shot them with confidence."

The 34-point win was largely decided in the closing minutes of the third quarter. The Pacers — already leading by 16 at the time — were ignited when Oladipo raced down the lane and put down a thundering jam over a leaping LeBron James, sending the crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse into hysterics.

On their next possession, Lance Stephenson connected on a 3-pointer to further electrify the crowd.

Pacers Playoffs presented by Bankers Life, Key Bank, Kroger, and Mtn Dew

By the time Indiana's rollicking third quarter run was finished, The Pacers had outscored the Cavs 10-1 in the final 1:50 of the frame, which opened up a 25-point lead entering the fourth.

"We were better connected on both ends of the floor," said Pacers head coach Nate McMillan. "I thought the defense was connected. We were solid offensively. We moved the ball, attacked the basket and pretty much played that way for the 48 minutes"

With the game well out of reach for the Cavaliers, James — who led his team with 22 points — never returned as the Pacers closed out the 34-point win with ease.

Aside from Oladipo — who recorded the first playoff triple-double of his career and the third in Pacers' NBA franchise history — Indiana was aided by a balanced scoring night across the board. All five Pacers starters reached double figures, while Domantas Sabonis (16 points) and Lance Stephenson (12 points, six assists) each delivered strong performances off of the bench.

Thaddeus Young Goes Up to Score

On Cleveland, James' supporting cast struggled to contribute. Aside from James, not one Cavs starter reached double figures as Cleveland finished the night shooting 41.8 percent from the field.

"The third quarter, it seemed like they played more physical and they had everything going for them," said Kevin Love, who finished with seven points. "They were able to be very effective in transition."

In the early moments of the do-or-die Game 6, the Pacers got the crowd involved as Oladipo swished a 3-pointer, then followed up with a two-handed slam off of a fastbreak. But after jumping ahead 17-14 on the dunk, Cleveland's offense began to fire away, running off an 8-0 sprint that featured back-to-back 3-pointers from James and Kevin Love.

By the time Love's three fell through, Cleveland had hit on six of its first nine attempts from long range, bolstering the Cavs lead.

Following a timeout from Pacers head coach Nate McMillan, Indiana's offense started to take flight, using a super-charged first quarter from Oladipo — who scored 15 points in his first shift on the floor — to take the lead.

After a steal from Oladipo ended up in the hands of Stephenson in the open court, Lance dished it back to Oladipo who threw down a 180-degree, two-handed slam, sending The Fieldhouse into pandemonium as Indiana led 29-26 at the end of the opening quarter.

With the bench units in the game to begin the second, Indiana continued to build on its lead, getting a 3-pointer from Stephenson to go up 36-32. Moments later, Sabonis continued his strong play with an and-1, opening up a six-point lead for the Blue & Gold.

After the Pacers led by as much as 11, the Cavaliers began to rally, getting their deficit down to just five points in the closing moments of the first half. Luckily, the Pacers again had an answer, using a Darren Collison 3-pointer and a Bojan Bogdanovic jumper to take a 57-47 lead at the break.

Opening up the third, it was more of the same for Indiana, getting a layup from Myles Turner and a three from Oladipo to quickly pounce ahead by 15, triggering a Cavaliers timeout just 1:20 into the frame.

James, playing with a bandaged head due to a gash above his left eye, worked to pull his team back into the game, connecting on a jumper to get the Cavs within 13. It was then that the Pacers erupted, outscoring Cleveland 10-3 to open up a yawning 20-point advantage.

When Boganovic's corner three sailed through the hoop, the Cavs signaled for timeout with 5:50 in the third while Indiana's starters lifted their arms to the home crowd, imploring them to keep the volume turned up at The Fieldhouse.

To close the quarter, the crowd did just that, reaching a deafening pitch as Oladipo dropped a hammer on James with a thundering dunk. After the slam, Lance and Oladipo each sent home threes, with Sabonis closing the quarter on a tip in from a broken play.

By the end of the period, Indiana had outscored the Cavaliers 35-20, taking a massive 25-point lead into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth, the Pacers never gave Cleveland an opening to climb back in the game, finishing out the season-saving 121-87 win and sending the series back to Cleveland for the winner-take-all matchup on Sunday.

"We're looking forward to it," said Oladipo of Game 7. "There's nothing wrong with a little challenge. Obviously, it's a big challenge ahead but we're looking forward to the game."

Inside the Numbers

After being held to 100 or fewer points in all five games of the series, Indiana erupted for 121 points.

Indiana smashed the Cavs on the glass, outrebounding Cleveland 36-26.

The Pacers lit it up from beyond the arc, making 15-of-30 shots from behind the arc.

On the fastbreak, the Pacers outscored the Cavaliers 35-12.

After going 9-of-11 from the field, Domantas Sabonis has now made 29 of his last 40 field goal attempts.

You Can Quote Me On That

"Vic was amazing today, defensively, it just seemed like I saw like three, four Vics out there today. You know, he's our leader, he's our best player. We kind of follow his lead." -Darren Collison on Oladipo's night.

"It's do or die for us, and we came out with a sense of urgency. I thought that we did a good job of pressuring the ball and keeping the ball in front of us. Not allowing them to get to the basket as they did in Game 5. We were much better connected on both ends of the floor." -Pacers head coach Nate McMillan

"Just went out there and played. Did everything with confidence. Didn't overthink it. Just play, read, and react." -Victor Oladipo

"Win or go home. It's just that simple." -LeBron James on Game 7

Stat of the Night

Oladipo's 28-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist triple-double was the highest scoring playoff triple-double in the Pacers' NBA franchise history, surpassing Paul George (23 points) and Mark Jackson (22 points).


  • The Pacers outscored the Cavaliers in all four quarters of the game.
  • Friday's win was the first time Cleveland has lost a series-clinching game since 2009. The 13 straight wins in series-clinching games was the longest streak in NBA history.
  • George Hill missed his third straight game with back spasms.

Up Next

On Sunday afternoon, the Pacers will face the Cavaliers for a winner-take-all Game 7 in Cleveland.