Pacers vs Cavaliers

Game Recap: Pacers 119, Cavaliers 99

The Pacers defeated the Cavaliers, 119-99. Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 25 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, while Doug McDermott added 18 points and nine rebounds in the victory. Collin

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Game Recap: Pacers 119, Cavaliers 99

The Pacers defeated the Cavaliers, 119-99. Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 25 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, while Doug McDermott added 18 points and nine rebounds in the victory. Collin
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:01

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Dec. 31, 2020

Dec. 31, 2020 - Doug McDermott, Victor Oladipo,, and Nate Bjorkgren disuss their New Year's Even win against the Cavs.
Dec 31, 2020  |  02:55

Domantas Sabonis Posts 25 points & 11 rebounds vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Domantas Sabonis Posts 25 points & 11 rebounds vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 12/31/2020
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:01

Domas Goes Behind The Back

December 31, 2020: Domantas Sabonis makes a slick pass to Myles Turner.
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:11

Domas Goes to Work

December 31, 2020: Domantas Sabonis is too much to handle in the post.
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:10

Justin Holiday Steps Back

December 31, 2020: Justin Holiday converts the stepback jumper.
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:13

Sabonis Spins

December 31, 2020: Domantas Sabonis spins to the rim.
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:09

Vic Finds Domas

December 31, 2020: Victor Oladipo gets it to Domantas Sabonis for two.
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:13

And-One for Oladipo

December 31, 2020: Victor Oladipo gets the bucket and the foul.
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:09

T.J. to Doug

December 31, 2020: T.J. McConnell finds Doug McDermott for two.
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:14

Oladipo Off-Balance

December 31, 2020: Victor Oladipo knocks down a difficult three.
Dec 31, 2020  |  00:12
by Brendan Rourke Contributor

Game Rewind: Pacers 119, Cavaliers 99

Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 at 3:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Recap

The Pacers (4-1) ended the tumultuous year of 2020 on a positive note for Blue & Gold fans, as they earned a comfortable 119-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers (3-2) on Thursday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. This is Indiana's third straight regular-season win over Cleveland, and its ninth of the last twelve contests.

All five starters finished in double figures, with Domantas Sabonis leading the way with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting. The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week also grabbed 11 rebounds for his fifth-straight double-double to start the season. Doug McDermott finished as the bench's highest scorer with 18, including three first-half threes. Victor Oladipo finished with 16 and a game-high eight assists.

"Tonight was a night where I had to get eight assists for us to win," Oladipo said postgame. "There will be some nights where I have to score more points, I have to get more rebounds. Whatever is needed, I'm going to do."

Indiana continued its early-season, third-quarter dominance by outscoring Cleveland 31-17 in the frame. After a brief scare early in the fourth — a 10-0 Cleveland sprint — McDermott hit a tough running floater with the shot clock dwindling to stop the spree and regroup the team.

"I thought it was big," he said of the shot. "I knew the shot clock was winding down there, and everyone was kind of yelling to shoot it — you can hear the whole gym. I didn't feel like I had a clean enough look to pull the three. So, I put it down and just threw it up there and it went in."

From there, the squad managed to fend off Cleveland's comeback attempts with relative ease and claim the victory.

Indiana used the long ball to snag a 57-51 lead after the first half. The squad finished the first quarter 6-of-10 (60.0 percent) from beyond the arc, and 10-of-22 (45.5 percent) for the half. Sharpshooter McDermott contributed a team-high three treys in the first half. The Blue & Gold managed to lead by as many as 13 behind runs utilizing the 3-point shot, but the Cavaliers managed a climb back to within six before the half ended.

Indiana snagged an 11-point lead towards the latter half of the first quarter thanks to their hot streak from beyond the arc. Victor Oladipo began a 16-4 Pacers run with a 28-foot pull-up 3-pointer with 4:53 to go. Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and McDermott then added snipes of their own to give Indiana a 30-19 lead with 53.9 seconds remaining. JaVale McGee and Justin Holiday then each added buckets of their own to end first-quarter scoring.

But Cleveland kept it close in the second. After a McDermott 3-pointer with 8:44 left in the half kept Indiana's lead in double digits, the visitors chewed into the lead behind seven points in a 49-second span. Four points of the run came from the NBA's current rebounding leader Andre Drummond. A Darius Garland three followed and cut Indiana's lead to 39-35 with 7:35 to go in the half. Drummond (11 points, 13 rebounds), finished the night with his fifth-straight double-double, tying the Cavaliers' franchise record for consecutive double-doubles to start the season.

But the Blue & Gold continued to shoot the ball well from the floor. A 12-5 run, including three more treys, over a 2:02 span aided the Pacers in snagging a double-digit lead once again. During the run, Oladipo scored six straight points, including a nifty running 3-point shot with 4:06 remaining to give Indiana a 51-40 lead.

Cleveland managed to trim Indiana's lead once again to four, 55-51, after former Alabama guard Collin Sexton nailed a hastily-shot 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring. But Sabonis calmly responded with a tough cutting layup at the rim with 1.8 seconds left to grab the six-point edge at halftime.

En route to outscoring their opponent in the third once again, the Pacers continued on the three-ball train early in the third and appeared to take control. A trio of treys from Oladipo, Aaron Holiday, and Brogdon bolstered a 13-6 run to grab a 70-56 lead with 7:46 remaining in the period.

A subsequent 6-0 Cleveland spree threatened Indiana's comfortable lead, but the pinpoint accurate shooters of the Blue & Gold responded with an 11-1 run of their own over a 2:54 span to grab an 81-63 lead with 3:11 remaining in the period. Aaron Holiday capped the run with a dagger three from the right wing as the Cavaliers switched to a zone defense and failed to rotate.

The Cavaliers then remained quiet throughout the remainder of the period and Indiana closed the third with an 88-68 lead.

Things turned scary for a spell as Indiana appeared to be down a familiar path. After T.J. McConnell notched a nifty layup off a feed from Myles Turner, Cleveland responded with 10 unanswered points, including threes from Damyean Dotson and Garland, to trim Indiana's lead to 90-78 with 9:29 remaining. McDermott finally halted the run with a running right-handed floater after a much-needed timeout.

For the next five minutes of game time, Indiana managed to keep Cleveland in a double-digit deficit. After a jumper from Larry Nance Jr. cut the Pacers' lead to 101-90, Oladipo responded with his fourth 3-point shot of the game — a dagger from the left wing — to go up by 14 with 5:11 to go.

From there, the Blue & Gold managed to keep control of the game. Consecutive buckets from Turner, including one off a behind-the-back pass from Sabonis extended Indiana's lead to 114-94 with 2:24 left in the final frame. Soon after, the Pacers' newcomers helped close the game. A Cassius Stanley three and a tough layup from Jalen Lecque helped the Pacers snag a 20-point win.

Inside the Numbers

Indiana entered the game ranked 28th in 3-point field goal percentage (30.3 percent). Tonight, they finished 16-of-35 (45.7 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Pacers came into the night boasting the league's third-highest steals per game average (10.9). They finished tonight with 13 more.

For the first time this season, the Blue & Gold held its opponent to under 100 points.

You Can Quote Me On That

"I guess I'm starting to get my respect back a little bit out there. There's more guys coming. I'm just trying to find the right play, find the open guy." –Victor Oladipo on his performance

"During [Cleveland's run] at the start of the fourth, we missed a couple of close baskets too. I thought we missed a few at the rim that could've — not that 10-4 is much better than a 10-0 run — but it's a little better. And it would've loosened that up a little bit. But to no one's fault. Then we made a few subs, and the other guys came back in, and they knew they needed a couple stops in a row there to get the momentum back on our side." –Coach Nate Bjorkgren on regrouping after the Cavaliers' early run in the fourth quarter

"Just his demeanor. He's a very confident guy, and he believes in us. And we believe in him. He's a guy to go to war for. He preaches confidence — just a really bright intelligent coach who puts us all in the best situations to be successful." –Doug McDermott on what has impressed him the most about head coach Nate Bjorkgren so far this season

Stat of the Night

Indiana outscored Cleveland 31-17 in the third, pushing its third-quarter scoring margin to +66 for the season.


  • Indiana placed six players in double figures for the second-straight outing.
  • The Blue & Gold hold a 103-94 all-time series lead over Cleveland after tonight
  • In three games against Cleveland last year, Domantas Sabonis scored a total of 50 points. He already has half of that total after a single game against his division rivals.

Up Next

Indiana hosts RJ Barrett and the New York Knicks for the second time this season on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 7:00 PM ET.


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