Pacers wipe out reeling Cavaliers
CLEVELAND — How bad are things for the Cleveland Cavaliers?
They were just beaten at home, by 17 points, and their coach said his team did some good things.
Thaddeus Young scored 26 points to lead all five Indiana Pacers starters in double figures in a 124-107 blowout of the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
The Cavs, the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions, are in a free fall. They have lost four straight and five of six games, including the last three by 58 points.
“The other games we just got our butts kicked,” Lue said. “Tonight, I thought we did some good things. We just couldn’t sustain it. But the other games we just flat out got our butts kicked so seeing improvement.”
Darren Collison added 25 points for the Pacers, who also received 23 from Victor Oladipo, 17 from Bojan Bogdanovic and 15 from Domantas Sabonis.
Indiana (5-3) won its third straight and picked up its first victory on the second night of back-to-back games this season.
“We have a lot of selfless guys on this team,” Collison said. “It’s not about any individual on this team, everybody wants the next person to do well, and that’s what it’s about. It’s not about points, rebounds, or assists, it’s about the win.”
The Pacers snapped a string of nine consecutive losses in Cleveland, which dated to March 30, 2014 (counting regular season and playoffs).
“I thought these guys believed,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan said about his team.
LeBron James led the Cavs (3-5) with 33 points and 11 assists, though he committed a game-high eight turnovers. Derrick Rose added 19 points, and Jeff Green scored 15 off the Cleveland bench.
“We can’t sustain effort for 48 minutes,” James said.
James is the sixth player in NBA history with 400 regular-season games of at least 30 points. Michael Jordan (562), Wilt Chamberlain (515), Karl Malone (435), Kobe Bryant (431), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (429) are the others.
The Pacers shot a blistering 16-of-26 from 3-point range (.615). They made seven more 3s than their nightly average, but it was against a Cavs defense already allowing the most 3s per game in the NBA.
“Some of it was turnovers,” Lue said. “Some they made tough shots. We contested, we were right there and teams have been making shots against us. I thought we did a good job of trying to contest all shots.”
Cavs center Tristan Thompson strained his left calf late in the second quarter and did not return.
Thompson turned to run down the court after a Cavs basket and came up lame. He limped to the bench with the help of J.R. Smith with 1:41 left, and he finished the night with two points and seven rebounds. He left Quicken Loans Arena on crutches.
Jae Crowder started instead of Thompson in the second half. It was Crowder, not Thompson, who started in the Cavs’ frontcourt for the first three games this season.
The Pacers led 62-61 at the half, marking the sixth consecutive game in which Cleveland trailed through two quarters. The Cavs went scoreless in the final 1:40 of the second quarter, and Indiana scored six points to retake the lead.
“They hit a few bombs at the end and the game got out of hand,” James said. “It was probably like an 11-point game or so. I’m not worried about that. It’s just we have an opportunity to be very good and then you see some of the lulls that we have and it’s just very difficult on our team right now. We’re just trying to figure it out on the fly and unfortunately we don’t have time to practice a lot and do those things and now Tristan went down again so we don’t know how long he’s going to be out. So, our team is kind of depleted as well both on and off the floor.”
NOTES: Pacers G Lance Stephenson was assessed a flagrant-one foul for swiping and connecting with Cavs F LeBron James’ midsection in the second quarter. ... The Cavaliers swept the Pacers out of an Eastern Conference first-round series last season. ... James filed to trademark the “Nothing is Given. Everything is earned.” slogan with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filing was on behalf of the new school for disadvantaged youths in Akron, Ohio, created by James’ charitable foundation set to open in fall 2018. ... James needs eight more points to become the seventh player in NBA history and the youngest ever to reach 29,000 points in his career. James turns 33 in December; Kobe Bryant scored his 29,000th point at age 33 and 109 days. ... Indiana F/C Myles Turner remains in the concussion protocol, but he will work out Thursday with the hope of returning as early as Friday in Philadelphia, coach Nate McMillan said.