Pacers at Cavaliers

Game Recap: Cavaliers 108, Pacers 104

The Cavaliers defeated the Pacers, 108-104. Evan Mobley recorded 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Cavaliers, while Kevin Love added 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the v

Postgame 220102

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Game Recap: Cavaliers 108, Pacers 104

The Cavaliers defeated the Pacers, 108-104. Evan Mobley recorded 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Cavaliers, while Kevin Love added 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the v
Jan 2, 2022  |  00:01

Pacers Postgame: Jan. 2, 2022

Jan. 2, 2022 - Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, Justin Holiday, and Domantas Sabonis speak with the media following Indiana's 108-104 loss in Cleveland on Sunday night.
Jan 2, 2022  |  13:43

Domantas Sabonis (32 points) Highlights vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Domantas Sabonis (32 points) Highlights vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 01/02/2022
Jan 2, 2022  |  00:02

Brissett corner 3

Jan 2, 2022  |  00:10

Sykes 3 from Holiday

Jan 2, 2022  |  00:11

Sabonis dunk

Jan 2, 2022  |  00:10

Turner block

Jan 2, 2022  |  00:08

Welcome Back, Lance

Jan 2, 2022  |  00:09

Holiday's Third Trey

Jan 2, 2022  |  00:09

Sykes' First Three

Jan 2, 2022  |  00:08

Domas to Myles for Three

Jan 2, 2022  |  00:12

Turner for Three

Jan 2, 2022  |  00:09

Game Rewind: Pacers 104, Cavaliers 108

Sunday, January 2, 2022 at 6:00 PM ET at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

Game Recap

The Pacers traveled to Cleveland to take on their division rivals for the first time this season to start the new year Sunday. And, despite having nine players on the injury report — eight due to the league's health and safety protocols — the Blue & Gold put up a fight. However, they could not take home the win.

A 15-0 Cleveland run — eight from Kevin Love — over the final 3:04 of the third quarter erased the Pacers' 11-point advantage. Another 7-0 run early in the fourth then sealed the deal. The Pacers (14-23) fell, 108-104, at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The loss snaps the Pacers' five-game winning streak against the Cavaliers (21-16).

Despite the roster rotation, all five Pacers starters finished in double figures for the 10th time this season. Domantas Sabonis tallied a game-high 32 points — 16 in the third — 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Duane Washington Jr. recorded a career-high 20 in his second start, and Justin Holiday added 18 off six 3-point shots. Even though the squad lost, Rick Carlisle praised the team for fighting through adversity.

"I'm really pleased with the way the team fought all day today," he said. "The run at the end of the third was obviously the difference in the game. That was tough."

"But, everybody stayed connected, kept in the fight. It's just a real disappointing result given the effort that was put in."

Early on, the squads matched one another shot-for-shot on six consecutive possessions to produce an 11-11 tie at the 9:05 mark. Cleveland managed the first multi-possession lead after getting back-to-back buckets from Lauri Markkanen and Evan Mobley. However, a pair of threes from Holiday and Myles Turner quickly knotted the game again, 17-17, with 6:45 remaining.

Trailing 19-17, Indiana quickly earned a 23-19 lead after Keifer Sykes and Oshae Brissett nailed consecutive triples. Pacer legend Lance Stephenson, who signed a 10-day hardship contract on Saturday, assisted the latter triple after coming off the bench. Stephenson knocked in his first bucket — a crafty baseline stepback — to give Indiana a 28-26 edge with 1:34 to play. The squads exited the frame tied at 30 apiece.

Two buckets from Stephenson that sandwiched Holiday's third three pushed Indiana to a 37-33 lead early in the second. However, the Cavs kept hanging around. Five straight from the hosts grabbed a 38-37 lead at the 9:56 mark.

The story remained the same as the midway mark of the frame passed. Neither team could create much separation as both offenses found constant success. Washington's first trey of the game grabbed a 44-43 lead for the Pacers. But Cleveland came right back, tallying five straight to take a 48-44 lead with 4:48 to play.

Despite a timeout from Rick Carlisle, the Cavs continued the spree. The hosts stretched the lead to eight before Washington ended it with a jumper.

Down the stretch, the Cavs continued to hold a slim lead. But the Pacers continued to fight. Trailing 58-51, the Blue & Gold scored the final five points of the half to cut the deficit to two at the break.

The early moments of the third produced another close contest. Indiana tied the Cavs twice, but the hosts used their size advantage to create easy buckets in the paint. However, the Blue & Gold finally earned a pair of leads thanks to Sabonis' long-ball. At the 7:40 mark, he dropped his first trey to grab a 65-64 edge. When Mobley responded with a jumper, the big man drilled another one from the right side 14 seconds later. The Blue & Gold led 68-66 with 7:04 to play.

Despite a Cavs timeout, the two-time All-Star continued to put on a show. In combination with the 3-ball, Sabonis powered himself to multiple trips to the charity stripe. At the 5:10 mark, he added his third triple of the frame to earn a 76-68 Indiana lead. Later, a three from Sykes pushed the Pacers' advantage to 79-70.

Holiday's fifth 3-pointer with 3:04 left grabbed Indiana's first double-digit lead at 84-73.

Then, the wheels fell off.

Cleveland scored the final 15 points of the third as Indiana fell victim to sloppy play. In the final 11.7 seconds, Love provided six points, including a buzzer-beating triple from the left side that excited the crowd. The Blue & Gold found themselves trailing 88-84 entering the fourth.

After Cleveland stretched the lead to six, Washington and Brissett drilled back-to-back threes to tie the game at 90, showing resilience. But, the Cavs responded once again with seven unanswered to take a 97-90 advantage with 7:30 remaining.

For the next few minutes, the Pacers could not cut into the lead. Trailing 99-92 at the 5:15 mark, Sabonis tallied a pair at the free-throw line to cut the lead to five. But, Mobley then notched four straight to push the Cavs’ lead back to nine.

With just under three minutes to play, Sabonis attempted again to bring the squad back. At the 2:15 mark, the big man notched another layup and cut Indiana’s deficit to 105-98. After a bad pass from Mobley, the Blue & Gold had a chance to cut the lead further. However, Washington's pass inside to Sabonis was too long.

Late triples from Holiday and Washington attempted to make the game interesting. However, it was too little, too late, as the Cavs eventually put the game away at the free-throw line.

Inside the Numbers

Along with Sabonis, Washington Jr., and Holiday, Myles Turner and Keifer Sykes finished in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Sykes' 10 points is a career-high.

The Pacers were outrebounded 48-40, including 12-10 on the offensive glass.

Cleveland shot twice as many free throws as the Pacers (20-of-28 compared to 11-of-14).

Cleveland's bench outscored Indiana's, 45-12.

You Can Quote Me On That

"I think they did a great job. They played without fear. That's a big deal. That's a hard thing to try to figure out when you're young...I like how (if) they made a mistake, they kept going. (They) don't shy away from being aggressive on both ends. And their energy is just so good for us." –Holiday on Washington and Sykes' performances

"It's great. He's a great guy. We love him. The fact that he's back is really good. He knows the way we play. He knows the culture. So, it's just fun having him back." –Sabonis on playing with Stephenson again

"Personally, it’s not difficult. I like playmaking. So, I get a chance to do a bit more of it now. I just tell the guys to be ready to shoot. Every time I drive, there is a guy or two extra on me. So, I'm just trying to create an advantage for somebody else to get a good shot." –Sabonis on his playmaking ability despite the roster rotation

Stat of the Night

The Cavaliers shot 29-of-48 (60.4 percent) in the paint for 58 points while the Pacers tallied just 26 points on 13-of-29 (44.8 percent) shooting.

Noteworthy

  • Lance Stephenson finished with six points and three assists in 12:34 of playing time in his first action with the Pacers since 2018.
  • Before the game, the team was notified that Caris LeVert, Goga Bitadze, and T.J. Warren have entered health and safety protocols.
  • Indiana has lost four consecutive games for the third time this season.

Tickets

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Kevin Durant, James Harden, and the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)





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