Cavs: Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Pacers: Jamaal Tinsley, Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster
Officials: Bob Delaney, Monty McCutchen, Olandis Poole
--Jermaine O'Neal was not cleared by team medical staff with a left knee issue and isn't playing. This is a break for the Cavs, but the Pacers are 3-0 without O'Neal this season so Indy certainly can cope. --Based on the mood in the Cavs locker room before the game, I get the impression they are not thrilled they're here on an afternoon back-to-back. There may be some low-energy and interest issues. Of course, this is the easiest game of the next week as two games with Boston, one at Detroit and one at Toronto await. So that has to be in their minds, too. --Granger has been playing great for Indy and has been attacking so expect him to go at James today. And vice versa, of course. --The Pacers under Jim O'Brien like to push the tempo and shoot a bunch from the outside. This is how the Cavs have been playing lately, too. Even if it doesn't suit them and doing on the road in the second game of a back-to-back doesn't seem all that strategic.
Halftime -- Cavs 54, Pacers 46
--The Cavs are having a lot of fun out there and it has picked up their energy. They are talking a lot and laughing a lot. Normally this wouldn't be ideal, but considering they needed something to pick up their mood it has probably been good. While LeBron got to sit for nine minutes he was practically working as a color commentator on the sidelines by joking with and even instructing his teammates. Once when Drew Gooden took a long jumper, LeBron yelled: "He's feeling himself..." then..."Drew, run the offense!" when it missed. All of it can be heard because Conseco Fieldhouse is so quiet today. Like after LeBron made a layup and screamed "I'm a beast" to the Cavs' bench. --Early in the game I thought LeBron might slap Drew when he fumbled away two passes and messed up a few times on defense. But Mike Brown stuck with him (does he have another choice) and Drew ended up having a good half. --Jaamal Tinsley just attacked Daniel Gibson, who sat the last 19 minutes of the half. Boobie couldn't stop him. But once Eric Snow went in there, Tinsley's drives stopped quick. Boobie will be needed in the second half, but this is an example of where Snow is valuable. --The Cavs have been excellent on offense, picking up 12 assists. The 7-of-10 3-pointers has them in the lead including two from Sasha, Devin Brown and Ira Newble. Not something you want to rely on on the road. But the Cavs have eight offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points which is also helping. --Triple double warning...LeBron's got 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Postgame -- Cavs 111, Pacers 106 Stars LeBron James, 30 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, four steals Drew Gooden, 23 points, 12 rebounds Sasha Pavlovic, 22 points, five assists Jamaal Tinsley, 24 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists Marquis Daniels, 25 points
--So LeBron had another triple double, he's great and everyone knows it. The interesting thing about it is watching him get them because the offense is running better than it has in three years. Also the spacing has been strong of late. Everything looks good when guys are hitting 3s, but for the most part the Cavs are getting quality shots with the game on the line and that was usually not the case last season. --Pacers went on a 24-4 run in the second half when the Cavs got lazy. Yes, in the NBA home teams using go on runs when they get down but the Cavs turned the ball over eight times in the third quarter. So that continues to be an issue. However, the Cavs get credit for getting their minds right in the fourth quarter when they had just one turnover and scored 38 points. --Mike Brown said after the game that he thought the Cavs were pretty good in halfcourt defense and I tend to agree. They gave up a lot of points but 24 were fastbreak points from all the turnovers. The Pacers shot 43 percent and 35 percent in the fourth and the Cavs did force a lot of contested shots. --The Boobie Gibson ejection was comical. The foul call was wrong and when McCutchen saw the replay I am sure he knew it was wrong. It fouled Gibson out because he'd committed some poor fouls earlier. It's automatic when you throw something that you get tossed and Boobie tossed the mouthpiece. Eric Snow was trying to argue that the mouthpiece didn't leave the floor and they were pointing at it sitting on the baseline like it was a bloody glove. He'll learn from that one. --Pavlovic was under control today. He plays out of control sometimes, especially when he drives to the basket. He didn't force anything and found a rhythm. We'll see if it continues but this could be a game when he turns the corner after being pretty bad since signing. --The Cavs didn't get a lot of foul calls today because they didn't drive the ball much. They had just 28 points in the paint to the Pacers 42, which is a large reason why the Pacers got 13 more free throws. There were bad calls both ways. --Crazy play with David Harrison getting called for goal-tending when he hung on the rim with 50 seconds to play and Jeff Foster's putback was called off. Cavs came down and hit a 3-pointer on the next possession, which made it a five-point swing. That break went the Cavs way and they took advantage. Not sure why Harrison felt the need to hold onto the rim. --Ilgauskas had eight points and eight rebounds, an average game for him. He is probably going to struggle on back-to-backs because it wears on him so much. --The Cavs going 3-1 this week was important with two games with Boston, one in Detroit and one in Toronto next week. Going 2-2 would be a plus, 1-3 is a reality. But with LeBron playing the way he is right now, anything is possible.
Quotes: LeBron on Boobie's ejection: "His mouthpiece is too big first off and it's red and white. It's easy for the refs to see, if he had a clear one like mine the refs wouldn't have seen it." LeBron on the 3-pointers: "There's no way you can guard our team if we're making shots like that when they double me. We're shooting the ball outstanding." Damon Jones: "I'll be glad to keep taking open shots that LeBron gets me. I love 'em."
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