Wrap-Up — The Wine & Gold didn’t close out their four-game homestand with a win, but at least they’ll hit the road with some good vibrations.
The Cavaliers dug themselves an early hole – falling behind by 24 points in the first quarter and 26 in the third – before staging a furious rally, cutting Indy’s lead to just five with 1:44 to play before running out of gas, dropping the, 123-115, decision on Tuesday night at The Q.
The defeat was the Cavs 10th straight overall, but it was unlike some of those recent lopsided losses.
Things looked dire at first, however. In that first quarter, the Pacers – obviously still smarting from the thriller Cleveland stole in their house less than a month ago – jumped all over the Wine & Gold, shooting 73 percent from the floor and running out to the 38-16 lead.
The Cavaliers proceeded to win the next two quarters – notching 36 in the third – and found themselves down just a baker’s dozen after three.
Cleveland continued its push in the fourth with Cedi Osman and Jordan Clarkson draining huge triples in the final two minutes to get the Cavs to within five. But Domantas Sabonis and Darren Collison drained free throws in the closing moments to kill the rally and send Larry Drew’s squad to its seventh-straight home loss.
For the 18th time this season, Jordan Clarkson led the Cavaliers in scoring – finishing with 26 points on 11-for-20 shooting, including 2-of-5 from long-range, adding two boards and a team-high three steals in 32 minutes off the bench.
Jordan Clarkson tallies a team-high 26 points in Cavs loss to Pacers on Tuesday night at The Q.
Alec Burks got the start in place of an injured Rodney Hood and followed with an efficient 17-point night – going 7-of-9 from the floor, drilling all three triples he attempted, to go with seven boards, a steal and a block.
Tristan Thompson notched his second-straight double-double – and 17th on the season – registering 15 points and a game-high 13 boards in the loss, adding a team-high-tying five assists and two of the game’s three blocks.
Cedi Osman saved his best for last – scoring 10 of his 15 points in the final quarter, going 3-of-5 from the floor in the period, 5-of-11 overall, adding two boards and three assists.
The newest Cavalier, Cameron Payne – signed to a 10-day deal on Sunday – came off the bench to notch double-figures in his debut, netting 10 points and three assists in 22 productive minutes off the bench, going 4-of-8 from the floor and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.
The Pacers got big efforts from their starting forwards in the win. Thaddeus Young led Indiana with 26 points, going 11-of-14 from the floor, while connecting on all three triples he attempted. Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in with 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting in the win.
Turning Point — Until the second half of the third quarter, the game’s turning point looked like it might be Cleveland’s dismal first quarter.
But the Cavaliers found their sea-legs in the second period and started making their move in the third.
Trailing by 23 – 87-64 – with 5:44 to play in the third quarter, the Wine & Gold ran off three-straight buckets to cut Indy’s lead to 17 on Jordan Clarkson’s short floater. The fifth-year man from Mizzou would proceed to score eight of Cleveland’s final nine points in the period – cutting Indy’s 26-point edge in the half and setting the Cavaliers up for a thrilling final quarter.
By the Numbers – 14.5, .516, .550 … Alec Burks’ scoring average, shooting percentage from the floor and from beyond the arc over the last six games.
Quotable – Coach Larry Drew, on building off of Tuesday’s strong effort against Indiana …
“When you have the struggles that we’ve had and you play against – that Indiana team is a very good basketball team. I don’t know what the biggest lead was, but I know we were down huge, and we kept fighting. We can look at this game, and we can take some things from it, and we can build from it.”
Up Next — With their four-game homestand in the rear-view mirror following Tuesday’s loss at The Q, the Wine & Gold embark on their longest roadie of the season – beginning with a rematch against the Pelicans on Wednesday night in the Big Easy. From there, it’s a Friday night matchup in Houston against James Harden and the Rockets. On Sunday evening, the Cavs face the Lakers (and possibly LeBron James) before heading up the coast for a Wednesday night meeting with the Blazers in Portland. The Wine & Gold wrap up the trip with a weekend back-to-back – taking on the Jazz in Utah on Friday night and the Nuggets the following evening before heading home.
Calls of the Game