The Pacers have now won two in a row after knocking off the Cleveland Cavaliers in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 102-95. Defense and rebounding have been issues so far this season, but that was not the case tonight, as Indiana outrebounded Cleveland and held them to under 40 percent shooting en route to the victory.
But by no means was this one easy for the home team. Indiana and Cleveland were in a close battle well into the fourth quarter. In the final period, the Pacers led by four, 72-68, before going on a 10-3 run to lead 82-71 with 7:46 to play.
But the Cavaliers continued to hang around. With 3:48 to go, Indiana's lead was just nine, 89-80.
Fortunately, the Pacers were up for any type of late Cavaliers rally and held off the visitors each and every time it seemed like they were threatening. Leading by six, Jeremy Lamb scored four straight to push the lead to 10, 95-85, with just 2:07 to play.
Cleveland would get within six a few more times, but the Pacers were able to put the game away at the free-throw line.
Outrebounding Cleveland 57-46 was a huge part of tonight's win.
“We just did a nice job," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said of the team's rebounding. "I said the same thing to our guys, we haven’t won the rebounding game all season long, they dominated us last game, had 12 offensive rebounds. Tonight we dominated the boards."
“I feel like in the last game we didn’t come out with that much energy and they beat us badly on the boards, so Coach really put an emphasis on it tonight," Pacers center Domantas Sabonis added. "We came out tonight and everybody did their job.”
Indiana didn't get out to a great start tonight. Cleveland controlled the game in the early going, as it led by six, 21-15, at the 3:25 mark. At the end of the opening quarter, the Cavaliers were out in front 26-19.
The Pacers' second unit performed well to start the second quarter. They outscored the Cavs 10-3 to give Indiana a 29-28 lead with 9:04 left in the half.
The tone set by the second unit continued throughout the quarter. The starters kept up the momentum, and when the period was said and done, the Pacers had scored 23 points to Cleveland's 11 and led 42-37.
In the third, Indiana increased its lead to as much as eight, but wasn't able to pull away. The Pacers led by seven, 68-61, heading into the final quarter, where they were able to keep the Cavs at bay for their second win of the season.
Sabonis finished with a double-double of 18 points and a career high 17 rebounds to lead Indiana. Malcolm Brogdon had another nice game with 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Off the bench, Goga Bitadze made an impact with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Cleveland was led by 22 points and 17 rebounds from Kevin Love and 20 points from Jordan Clarkson.
Stat of the Night
Domantas Sabonis set a new career high with 17 rebounds. He's led the Pacers in rebounding in four of the team's first five games.
Inside The Numbers
Rebounding was not an issue for the Pacers tonight. The Pacers outrebounded the Cavaliers 57-46.
Indiana was locked in on the defensive end. Cleveland shot just 36.8 percent from the floor.
- Jeremy Lamb notched his first double-double of the season after finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
- JaKarr Sampson scored his first-ever points as a Pacer tonight.
- By finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds, Goga Bitadze set new highs in points and rebounds for his young career.
You Can Quote Me On That
“Nate told me at the start of the season that I have to be ready at any time, since it’s a long season. Any time the team needs me, I have to be ready to step out. That’s my mindset, to try and help the team win." - Pacers center Goga Bitadze
"I thought our bench did a good job in that first half as well as the second half lifting us and getting us going and the starters were able to slowly put the game away.” - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan
“We just have to go out there and make shots for each other. Maybe you drive, and it may not be your shot, it may be someone else’s after some passes. But we just have to think about that and not try to force the first look we get. We just have to move the ball a little bit more.” - Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton
The Pacers welcome former captain Thaddeus Young back to Bankers Life Fiedhouse with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 5:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
Special Offer - Pacers Win
Jack's Donuts: Visit your local Jack's Donuts the day after a Pacers victory and mention the Pacers win to receive a free 12-ounce coffee or donut with any purchase. Visit JacksDonuts.com to find the Jack's Donuts nearest you.