Cavs 97, Pacers 73
Another laugher as the Cavaliers prepare to go into Charlotte Saturday and take on the Bobcats.
Again, defense wins this one with some timely offense to put it away. The Cavaliers won their 11th consecutive at home and 15-of-16.
If this were last year and LeBron James scored just 11 points, any sane person would have said the team's collective hindquarters were cooked. Not tonight. On a night when the team handed out Anderson Varejao wigs, it would be the Wild Thing who provided the offensive spark the team needed in the second quarter. The rest of the team would then join in. Varejao finished with 17 as did Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Defensively they held the Pacers to just 40 percent shooting from the floor, forced 16 turnovers that led to 29 points, blocked 10 shots and had seven steals.
Coach Mike Brown on how the team won:
For us it comes down to who we are – a defensive team. Our guys have that understanding. That’s our foundation. You’re not going to stop a guy like Danny Granger…One guy is not going to guard him by himself. It was a great team effort led by LeBron (James), who was on him most of the night.
LeBron James on Anderson Varejao
He was hot. I said before the game Andy has been working on getting better. He got hot and once you get hot, you continue to cast them up and he continued to make them. He and Daniel (Gibson) carried us offensively in the first half and it was good to see Andy catch fire like that from the outside.
At the half:
Cavs 52, Pacers 38
After plodding around for much of the first quarter, the Cavs can thank Anderson Varejao for picking them up and putting them on his back. Yes, I typed that.
Varejao scored 17 points in the first half hitting on all seven of his shots. Topping it off, he pulled down four rebounds as well. I won't even write that the Cavs looked sluggish once again. It's time to quit worrying about it because the trend has been to start slow and finish fast and strong.
The Cavs led by a single point to start the game, but pulled away by scoring 31 points in the second quarter - Varejao had 13 of those points. The Cavs forced nine turnovers. The Pacers are in this one because right now they are dominating inside the paint.
While they enjoy a 14 point lead, the Cavs can't allow that trend to continue in the second half.
Cavs (15-3) vs. Indiana Pacers (7-11)
The Cavaliers beat the Pacers 111-107) at The Q. LeBron James led the Cavs with 27 points while Anderson Varejao scored a career best 18.
TV: FSOhio. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM) WHBC (1480 AM)
Cavs: LeBron James (F); Ben Wallace (F); Zydrunas Ilguauskas (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G). Pacers: Danny Granger (F); Troy Murphy (F); Rasho Nesterovi (C); Marquis Daniels (G); T.J. Ford (G).
Cavs: Eric Snow (knee); Pacers: Travis Diener, sore left foot, day-to-day; Mike Dunleavy 9sore right knee, out; Jeff Foster, sore lower back, day-to-day.
Joe DeRosa, Curtis Blair, Luis Grillo
The Cavs are winners of six-in-a-row overall and 10 consecutive at home (a new record). The Pacers have lost four in a row.
Three things to watch:
- LeBron James could conceivably set the team record for steals tonight. Mark Price currently holds the record with 734. James stands at 731 and needs just 4 more to get it.
- Let's face it. The Cavs are getting fairly boring to watch, but in a good way. In some respects they almost look like they wish they could start the playoffs now. In situations such as that, let's see if they can maintain their overall focus and intensity. Against the Knicks they came out flat before blowing them away.
- LeBron James vs. Danny Granger. Last time out Granger lit the Cavs up for 33 points. While they won the game, you have to imagine that James and the team didn't particularly enjoy that fact.
From the coach's office:
Mike Brown on what you practice when your team is playing so well:
There’s nothing specific, but if we’re lacking or lagging in an area, it’s defensive transition. Against Milwaukee it was weak side (defense), but the day after that we really shored it up.
From the locker room:
LeBron James on not having to play as many minutes. He's averaged over 40 the past four seasons and is now down to 35 per game:
I feel good. I haven’t sat out this much in my whole career. We had the game against Milwaukee where I had to play a lot of minutes and I felt like I was out of shape because I hadn’t played the fourth quarter in four out of those five games. It’s going to be good for the long run. Even when we get to the playoffs and I can play 36 minutes, that’s good too.