The Pacers showed they can still play some defense without Paul George with a solid preseason effort against LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
With Solomon Hill in the lineup tasked with guarding James, the Pacers started the game with solid half-court and transition defense. LeBron was able to get things rolling after the half, but how he did his damage shows why he's the best in the game. You will give James a fade-away, mid-range jumper all day, as opposed to the host of alternatives he has in his bag of tricks. When he's draining that shot? Too good.
Paul George, Solo Hill or George Hill -- it doesn't matter. So while it is frustrating to see James get rolling, like he did to start the third quarter when he scored 10 points on four of six shots in seven minutes, the overall defensive disposition of the Pacers was a plus on the night. They even came out ready to shut down Kevin Love's touchdown outlets.
Also of note, Chris Copeland maintains control of the remaining reserve wing minutes he is battling for with Damjan Rudez. Cope had a nice flow going in Cincy, leading the Pacers with 16 points and a few nice assists off the bounce. Both players continue struggling on the defensive end, but Rudez put up an 0-fer missing all six of his shots including a trio of threes.
The Pacers still have a long way to go to figure out how best to play the best in the league. Getting it done on one end of the floor won't get it done on any night for the Pacers this season. So in that sense, this preseason result may be a good indicator for how the regular season will go. They played pretty well, but...
Check out some links:
Game Rewind: Pacers 93, Cavaliers 98 (Preseason) | Indiana Pacers
Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers - Oct. 15 | Cleveland Cavaliers
James, Cavs spoil Pacers' West's return to Xavier - AP
LeBron James, Cavs too much for Pacers in tuneup - Indy Star
Pacers final score: Cavaliers edge Pacers 98-93 - Indy Cornrows
Final score: LeBron James dominates as Cleveland Cavaliers beat Indiana Pacers 98-93 - Fear The Sword
NBA takes wrong approach to game length | WFNI ESPN 1070 the Fan | Indy's SportsCenter
LeBron James was his old self against the Indiana Pacers: Joe Vardon's buzzer briefing | cleveland.com
Kevin Love injures neck in win over Indiana Pacers, team says it's not serious | cleveland.com
LeBron James of Cleveland Cavaliers denies forgetting own team vs. Miami Heat - ESPN
Michael Jordan disagrees with talk of shortening season, games - ESPN