The winning didn’t last long for the Indiana Pacers, who drop back in the loss column with a blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After a pair of competitive games with the Cavs, Cleveland took control of the season series, stymying the Indiana offense for a good portion of the game.
The game got out of reach midway through the second, when after giving the Pacers a 37-36 lead, Myles Turner picked up two straight fouls, his second and third, ending his half. Turner to that point was playing an outstanding game, scoring 12, and his absence was felt on both ends as the second half wound down.
Cleveland responded with 10 straight points, taking a nine-point lead. Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton would get the game as close as six late, but Donovan Mitchell more or less put the game on ice to close the half, scoring eight in the final minute and change to extend the lead out to 16.
The Indiana offense found their most success in the third, with Turner again taking charge of the offense to score 15 points in the quarter, but they spent much of the time spinning their wheels defensively, allowing Cleveland to extend their lead up until the final seconds when Bennedict Mathurin cut the lead to 14.
T.J. McConnell opened the fourth with a layup to make it a 12-point game, but bumped into Mitchell on a three point shot on the other end, gifting them three points in what would turn into a night ending 22-6 run by the middle of the fourth, giving the Pacers their 30th loss of the season.
The Cavaliers did a great job throughout the night slowing down the Indiana offense, controlling the game in the half court, not only holding Indiana to 43.5% shooting overall and 8-32 from three, but just 39.1% from the restricted area in the first half. Outside of Turner, finishing with 27 points and 10 rebounds, blocking three shots, it was a quiet, quiet night from the rest of the team.
Hield was the only Pacer to hit multiple threes besides Turner, knocking down four as part of his 16 while Haliburton locked in a double double of 15 points and 11 assists, but neither moved the needle much at all tonight, especially on the defensive end, which isn’t a great spot to be in with your second and third leading scorers.
The Pacers weren’t able to be opportunistic enough tonight, in part due to their poor shooting. Their eight makes is one off a season low, with Aaron Nesmith missing all five his attempts and the bench missing all eight of theirs. The Cavs meanwhile, were bursting with opportunity, connecting on 15 threes, all seeming to come at just the right time, including multiple makes from five different players.
Mathurin led the bench with nine points and six rebounds while Daniel Theis again flashed his offensive wares, scoring seven on 3-6 shooting. McConnell had six points, five rebounds, and four assists. Both Nesmith and Andrew Nembhard had six points in starting roles, with Nesmith dishing seven assists.
The Pacers will again have some extra time this week in an attempt to regroup, hitting the road for a game against the Miami Heat on Wednesday. With the trade deadline on Thursday, it’ll be an active week for the front office regardless of whether any moves are made before Friday’s home game against Phoenix.