EditorsNote: Fixed Brogdon’s rebounds in 1st graf, additional minor edits
Malcolm Brogdon posted 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Domantas Sabonis had 18 points, 17 rebounds and four assists, and Indiana overcame a poor 3-point performance to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-95 Friday night in Indianapolis.
The Pacers earned their second consecutive win after an 0-3 start, which included a loss to Cleveland six days earlier. Friday’s contest followed a similar arc, only with roles reversed: Cleveland outscored Indiana by 19 points in the second quarter on Oct. 26 and controlled through the second half.
This time, the Pacers’ defense overwhelmed the Cavaliers in the second quarter, holding them to 11 points while scoring 23 themselves.
The strong second quarter erased a rough start for Indiana, which scored just 19 points in the opening period. Coach Nate McMillan, who didn’t have Myles Turner because of an ankle injury, started T.J. Leaf instead.
Indiana came out sluggish, and its 3-point shooting never improved: The Pacers shot just 18.5 percent (5-of-27) from deep. Justin Holiday, who scored eight points off the bench, was the only Pacer to make more than one 3-pointer.
But the Pacers had a 57-46 rebounding edge, and their defense held the Cavaliers to just 36.8 percent from the floor. Jeremy Lamb contributed on the glass with 10 rebounds, and he scored 21 points.
The Pacers bench provided 35 points, and five of the six reserves recorded positive in plus-minus scores. Rookie center Goga Bitadze played 25 minutes in Turner’s absence and was a game-high plus-15 after scoring 10 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking four shots in the best performance of his young career.
Cleveland remained in striking distance throughout the second half, led by forward Kevin Love, who posted 22 points and 17 rebounds. Guard Collin Sexton scored 21 points, while Jordan Clarkson added 20 points and five assists off the bench.
Center Tristan Thompson, who came into Friday’s game on a career-best scoring run as he averaged 20.3 points in four games, fouled out after registering just seven points in 31 minutes.
—Field Level Media