The Cleveland Cavaliers outlasted the Indiana Pacers to pick up a much-needed victory on Monday night, 100-96.
The fourth quarter started by trading baskets, before Cleveland retook the lead with 6:30 left. After which, the Cavs outscored the Pacers by three to secure the victory.
LeBron James led Cleveland with 33 points, and Kyrie Irving chipped in 22. The Pacers were led by Monta Ellis with 28, with Paul George also adding 23.
After being completely outclassed by the Portland Trail Blazers a night ago, the Pacers came out with something to prove versus the Cavs. Specifically, it was the starters to made a statement from the start.
In Sunday evening's loss to the Blazers, the bench kept the Pacers in the game, but it was the starters doing damage from the start. Indiana's starting five scored 15 of the Pacers' 19 first quarter points, and the trend continued throughout the night. The Pacers led 19-18 after 1.
Defensively speaking, Indiana was able to keep the Cavs' shooting percentage much lower than what the Blazers shot just a night before, and Cleveland was nearly silent from behind the arc early on.
However, Indiana, or either team for that matter, was ever able to pull away. Cleveland's defense kept them in the game, as the fatigue from playing on back-to-back nights slowly got to the Pacers.
Indiana retained their lead for most of the second, but the Cavs came roaring back in the final minutes of the second, and that gave Cleveland a 44-43 halftime lead. LeBron James led all scorers at the half with 21 points, while Monta Ellis led the Pacers with 8 at the break.
The teams traded baskets to start the third quarter, but Indiana went on a run in the middle of the third, and held a lead as large as 6, at 56-50. Cleveland narrowed that lead as the quarter went on, and by the time the fourth quarter came, the Cavs held a small 74-73 advantage.
James was keeping the Cavs afloat, as he recorded 32 points in the first three quarters.
Indiana plays the Bucks next on Wednesday in Milwaukee, while the Cavs host the Wizards at home on Friday.