Post-mortem: Cavs (9-4) 105, Pacers (5-5) 95
The Cavaliers need to thank LeBron James (40 points), the refs and the free throw line for this victory. Yeah, OK, they should pat themselves on the back for some timely defense in the fourth quarter. Let's deal with them in order.
- LeBron James came out of the locker room frothing. His intensity was high as he had some choice words through out the game. More importantly that manifested itself out on the court as he scored 40 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out seven assists. Although he hit his first eight shots, his dominance really showed in the fourth quarter when he scored 10 points, including a key three-point shot with one second left on the shot clock and 53 seconds left on the game clock.
- Give the Cavs credit for one thing in the game: at times they were aggressive going to the basket - at least that is what the stats show. They went to the free throw line 34 times, connected on 27 of them while Indiana went to the line just 21 times. That ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
- An abysmal third quarter almost sunk the Cavs, but an energetic fourth quarter with some timely offense and defense, along with hitting 8-of-9 from the free throw line saved them. They saved their best defense for last holding the Pacers to just 22 percent shooting in the quarter. They, in turn, hit 53 percent of their shots in the third. That helped them to erase a five-point deficit they accumulated courtesy of 17 percent shooting in the third and some fairly crappy defense.
Cavs at Indiana Pacers
WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Danny Granger (F); Dahntay Jones (F); Roy Hibbert (C); T.J. Ford (G); Brandon Rush (G).
Shaquille O'Neal (shoulder strain) - OUT; Anderson Varejao (hip contusion) - PROBABLE.
Mike Dunleavy (knee); Jeff Foster (sprained right ankle) - OUT; T.J. Ford (back spasms), Troy Murphy (bruised lower back) - DAY-TO-DAY.
Rod Garretson, Pat Fraher, Haywood Workman.
- The Indiana Pacers love to give the Cavs fits at Canseco Fieldhouse. This time last year the game gave them the infamous "that official" outburst from coach Mike Brown, who lambasted Joey Crawford for making what he viewed to be a makeup call in the game's final seconds, giving the Pacers the chance to win the game at the free throw line. Brown was eventually fined $25,000 for his remarks. The Cavs went 3-1 against Indiana last year overall.
- Both teams had five-game win streaks snapped in their last games. The Cavs blew a 17-point lead versus the Washington Wizards. The Pacers blew a big lead against the New York Knicks before falling to them. In the process forward Danny Granger scored a game high 33 points.
- The Pacers average more than 101 points per game and the Cavs give up about 93. Something will have to give in that area. Danny Granger is averaging 25.4 points a game and swingman Dahntay Jones puts up more than 17. He and James had an interesting battle last year in the opener between the two clubs and it came down to those two in that game.
- The Cavs will have the services of forward Anderson Varejao tonight and that should help given that the Wizards and specifically Antawn Jamison took them to task in the paint and on the boards Wednesday night at the Verizon Center in a game that Cavs should have won. Shaquille O'Neal didn't even travel with the team and will obviously miss tonight.