Pacers at Cavaliers (Preseason)

Game Recap: Cavaliers 107, Pacers 104

Isaac Okoro, the no. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, knocked down a driving and-one layup with 0.3 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Cavaliers over the Pacers, 107-104. Okoro finished

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Game Recap: Cavaliers 107, Pacers 104

Isaac Okoro, the no. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, knocked down a driving and-one layup with 0.3 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Cavaliers over the Pacers, 107-104. Okoro finished
Dec 12, 2020  |  00:01

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Dec. 12, 2020

Dec. 12, 2020 - Nate Bjorkgren, Malcolm Brogdon, and Domantas Sabonis share their thoughts on the team's first preseason game.
Dec 12, 2020  |  02:19

Martin Knocks It Down

December 12, 2020: Kelan Martin hits a big three.
Dec 12, 2020  |  00:12

Back-to-Back Blocks by Turner

December 12, 2020: Myles Turner rejects Cleveland twice in a row.
Dec 12, 2020  |  00:11

Brogdon Spins It In

December 12, 2020: Malcolm Brogdon gets the triple to roll in.
Dec 12, 2020  |  00:09

Oladipo Finds Sabonis

December 12, 2020: Victor Oladipo makes a great pass to Domantas Sabonis for two.
Dec 12, 2020  |  00:12

Steal & Slam for Vic

December 12, 2020: Victor Oladipo gets the steal and finishes at the end other end.
Dec 12, 2020  |  00:11

Sabonis Keeps At It

December 12, 2020: Domantas Sabonis doesn't give up and gets two.
Dec 12, 2020  |  00:13

Holiday Brothers Connect

December 12, 2020: Aaron Holiday finds Justin Holiday for a three.
Dec 12, 2020  |  00:13

Brogdon for Three

December 12, 2020: Malcom Brogdon knocks down the first field goal of the preseason.
Dec 12, 2020  |  00:06

Game Rewind: Pacers 104, Cavaliers 107 (Preseason)

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 at 7:00 PM ET at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
by Wheat Hotchkiss Writer/Editor

Game Recap

Pacers fans got their first glimpse at new head coach Nate Bjorkgren's system on Saturday night. Indiana led for much of the night, but ultimately dropped its preseason opener in Cleveland, 107-104.

The Pacers' starters played three quarters in their first game under Nate Bjorkgren. Though there was some anticipated rust, there were also plenty of positives.

Three starters reached double figures in the exhibition. All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis looked like he hadn't missed a beat in his first game since March, tallying a trademark double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points, five assists, and two steals while going 4-for-7 from 3-point range, while Myles Turner chipped in 14 points, six boards, and three blocks.

"Man, I thought we played hard," Bjorkgren said after the game. "That's what I was looking for tonight. I thought we were very active out there on the defensive end. We got our hands on a lot of passes out there, a lot of deflections, were very disruptive."

Indiana's defense set the tone early on Saturday, as the Pacers forced four turnovers in the first four minutes. On the other end, Brogdon hit two 3-pointers as Indiana used an early 10-2 run to open up a 12-6 lead.

Justin Holiday came off the bench and knocked down two treys of his own as Indiana remained in front for the remainder of the opening frame, taking a 22-20 lead into the second quarter.

Cleveland briefly moved in front in the second quarter, taking a 33-31 lead following a 10-2 run, but Indiana quickly answered. Brogdon hit a jumper, then found Turner for a three-point play on the next possession to give the Blue & Gold the lead once again.

The final three minutes of the first half featured two ties and three lead changes, but Cleveland moved in front on Thon Maker's dunk with 38.1 seconds left in the half and extended its advantage to 49-45 with a 3-pointer by Cedi Osman just before the halftime buzzer.

The Cavs extended their lead to eight in the opening minutes of the third quarter before the Blue & Gold put together the biggest run of the night. Brogdon, Turner, and both Holiday brothers knocked down 3-pointers as Indiana reeled off a 22-5 burst to seize control of the contest.

The Pacers took a 73-65 lead into the fourth quarter, where both coaches turned to their reserves to close out the opening exhibition of the season.

"Today I was actually happy with our defense, our deflections, how many turnovers we forced," Brogdon said of the starters' performance. "Of course there are things for us to fix offensively, defensively. But our effort and our energy towards playing the way (Bjorkgren) wants us to play defensively was there."

Isaac Okoro, the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, came alive in the final frame, scoring eight straight points midway through the period to put Cleveland in front. New Pacer Kelan Martin stopped the bleeding, drilling a 3-pointer with 5:11 remaining that gave the Pacers an 89-87 lead.

Maker's dunk gave Cleveland a 96-95 lead with 2:51 to play. Martin answered with another three. Damyean Dotson then hit a jumper before Pacers rookie Cassius Stanley flew in for a dunk on the other end. Dylan Windler and T.J. McConnell then traded buckets before Maker's layup tied the game at 102 with 1:14 left.

Then after a McConnell miss, Dotson knocked down the go-ahead jumper with 49.3 seconds remaining. Martin missed a three out of a timeout, but McConnell stole the ensuing inbound and fed Edmond Sumner for the game-tying dunk.

After Maker missed two free throws, Indiana had a chance to win in the closing seconds, but McConnell missed a jumper. The Cavaliers then got out on the break and Okoro converted the game-winning bucket with 0.3 seconds left.

Doug McDermott finished with 13 points off the bench in 28 minutes, while fellow reserve Justin Holiday added 12 points, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Martin chipped in 11 points in the second half.

Osman led all scorers with 23 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. Okoro added 18 points for Cleveland, while Darius Garland finished with 14.

The Pacers will remain in Cleveland through the weekend. Indiana and the Cavs will meet once again on Monday night at 6:00 PM for a second preseason tilt.

Inside the Numbers

Two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo played 21 minutes, scoring six points on 2-of-6 shooting and also tallying four rebounds and two steals.

Sabonis had a double-double by halftime with 14 points and 12 rebounds. He set the Pacers NBA franchise record with 50 double-doubles last season.

Indiana had 26 assists on 34 field goals on Saturday.

The Cavaliers had a 52-38 advantage in points in the paint.

Turnovers were an issue for both teams. The Pacers forced Cleveland into 27 turnovers, but had 24 giveaways themselves.

You Can Quote Me On That

"I liked how he was operating in the paint. I thought he was good and physical playing through hits. He's a willing passer, a very good screener. His teammates love playing with him." -Bjorkgren on Sabonis

"It felt great. I missed it a lot. Just to be out there playing basketball again with all the guys, same team, it was a lot of fun." -Sabonis on playing his first game since March 10

"I like that number. I like the way that we were sharing it. There's nothing wrong there. Sometimes you'll miss them and more times this team will make them." -Bjorkgren on attempting 44 3-pointers

"There are going to be games that we're going to shoot more threes than that. That's what you're going to see from us all season." -Brogdon

Stat of the Night

The Pacers went 15-for-44 from 3-point range on Saturday, with nine different players attempting three or more shots from beyond the arc. Indiana has never attempted more than 42 3-pointers in a regular season game and never more than 40 in a non-overtime game.


  • Aaron Holiday started Saturday's game in place of T.J. Warren, who is week-to-week with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
  • Second-year center Goga Bitadze did not play due to a sprained ankle. Bjorkgren said Bitadze got some shots up prior to the game and could be available on Monday.
  • Stanley, the 54th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, played 10 minutes and scored five points on 2-of-4 shooting, 1-of-3 from 3-point range.

Up Next

The Pacers and Cavaliers meet again on Monday, Dec. 14 at 6:00 PM ET.


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