Cavaliers struggle but pull out 118-112 win over Pacers   
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Friday night the Cavaliers returned to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to take on the Indiana Pacers after a 1-1 Texas road trip ending in a victory on Wednesday in Dallas against the Mavericks 105-90. The Pacers entered tonight’s game with a 15-4 record (6-8 on the road). While Cavs came in 18-11 (12-2 at home). This was the first meeting between the two teams this season. Last season the Cavs won the series 4-0 but all four games were decided by seven points or less. The Cavs trailed the all-time series entering tonight 105-98 but have the advantage at home 63-41. This game was the first of six straight home games for the Cavs. It wasn’t pretty as the Cavs struggled most of the game but pulled it out in the end pulling out a 118-112 win.

The Cavs jumped out to a quick 6-0 start with a layup by Evan Mobley who four of the first six Cavs points with 10:53 left on the clock Pacers coach Rick Carlyle did not like what he saw and called an early timeout. The Pacers cut the Cavs lead to one point at 14-13 with 6:41 left in the first quarter when Buddy Hield drained a deep three pointer from the top of the arch. Donovan Mitchell then responded with a three to put the Cavs back up by four points with 5:52 left at 17-13. The Pacers then outscored the Cavs 7-2 over the next 1:22 to take their first lead of the game 20-18 4:30 remaining in the first. The Pacers continued to build the lead to six points after a Mitchell turnover and an uncontested layup by Tyrese Haliburton with 3:08 left in the opening quarter. A three by Caris LeVert cut the Pacers lead to three points with 1:48 left and then to three again at 29-26 with 1:05 left on a basket by Kevin Love assisted by LeVert. When the period finally came to a close and the dust settled the Cavs trailed 31-29. Mitchell led all scorers with 10 points in the opening 12 minutes. Haliburton led the way for Indiana with six points. The Cavs nipped the Pacers on the boards 8-7. Bothe teams had three turnovers resulting in four points each.

Love tied the game 31-31 with two free throws with 11:05 left in the second quarter after being fouled and knocked to the floor by Isaiah Jackson. The Cavs then took a brief 33-31 lead with 10:37 left when Darius Garland drained a jumper. The game became a back-and-forth affair at this point. However, the Cavs did manage to take a 38-35 lead with 9:01 left on a three pointer by Cedi Osman who saw no game action on Wednesday in Dallas against the Mavericks. The Pacers came right back with 7:48 left to regain the lead on a fast break layup by Bennedict Mathurin on an assist by Jackson to put Indiana on top 39-38. With 6:20 left on the clock in the first half the Cavs took a timeout after Garland picked up his second foul the Pacers were leading 42-40. In the first 5:40 of the second the lead had either changed, or the game was tied a combined eight times. With 5:11 left the Pacers took 48-43 lead when Mathurin scored after the Cavs committed a 24 second shot clock violation. The Cavs pulled to within one at 51-50 with 3:26 left in the quarter when Jarrett Allen slammed home a dunk. The Pacers responded with a 3-pointer by Oshae Brissett to extend the Pacers advantage back to 54-50 with 3:07 left. In the final minute of the quarter the Cavs played very sloppy basketball, bad shots and turnovers and the Pacers took advantage taking a 61-54 lead into the locker at halftime. Mitchell led all scorers with 13 points in the firs half and Osman contributed 10 points. Mathurin led the Pacers with 12. Hield also had 11 for Indiana. The Pacers outworked the boards 9-4 in the quarter and 18-15 in the half. Cleveland shot 31% (5-16) from the behind the three-point stripe in the first half while the Pacers shot 37% (6-16) from 3-point range. Indiana also outshot Cleveland overall from the field 55% (21-38) to 44% (17-38).

The Pacers took their biggest lead of the night to that point with just :22 seconds gone in the third when Myles Turner hitting three and giving Indiana 64-54 lead. The Pacers built the lead to 12 points at 74-62 with 8:57 remaining when Turner hit a jumper. JB Bickerstaff had seen enough and called a timeout. The third quarter was no different than the first two as the Cavs looked off, like they just were out of sync and could not do the things that they have done this season for success. Every time it looked as though the Cavs were cutting into the Pacers lead in a significant way the Pacers responded. When the third quarter buzzer sounded the Pacers led 94-83 outscoring the Cavs 33-29 in the first 12 minutes of the second half. Mitchell led all scorers through three with 23, but it wasn’t enough Garland had 18. Four different Pacers were in double figures leading the way was Mathurin with 17. The Cavs did outrebound the Pacers 9-8 in the third, but still trailed in the game 26-22.

As the fourth quarter began the 11-point Pacer led felt like 50 points as through the first 36-minute Cleveland seemed to be treading water. The Cavaliers cut the lead to eight at 103-96 with 8:27 left when LeVert drained a long three. The Pacers took a timeout because it seemed like the momentum might be shifting to Cleveland. The Cavs then cut the Pacers lead to 105-103 on a Mitchell 3-point jumper with 6:43 left on the game clock. It was the smallest Pacer lead in what seemed like an eternity but actually at 2:35 left in the second period was the last time the Pacers led by as little as two points. The Pacers took a timeout. They did respond on their first possession after by hitting three on a jumper by Mathurin with 6:23 remaining. With 5:29 left on the game clock Evan Mobley drained a three from the outside to pull the Cavs to with one at 110-109. Then three possessions later after the Bickerstaff took a timeout with 3:59 on the clock to talk things over the Cavs came all the way back to take a 112-110 lead with 3:41 left on a Mitchell 3 pointer from deep with time running out on the shot clock. The Cavs extended the lead to 114-110 when LeVert hit a fade away jumper with 2:49 left in the game. After the Mitchell three to give the Cavs the lead they never trailed again finishing off the Pacers with a 30-12 run in the last 9:47 of the game to secure the 118-112 win as the crowd chanted M-V-P for Mitchell who finished the game with 41 points leading all scorers.

Aside from Mitchell there were three other Cavs in double figures, Garland with 20, Mobley with 16 and LeVert had 12. Garland had a double as also ad 10 assists. Mobley fell one rebound short of a double double leading the Cavs with nine boards. Speaking of the boards the Cavs trailed the Pacers all night in the game and on the boards until the fourth quarter when Cleveland outrebounded them 12-7 to win the battle of the boards in the game 34-33. The Cavs ended up shooting 52% (34-66) in the game, the Pacers shot 56% (42-70).

The Cavs will be right back in action taking on the Mavs at RMFH Saturday night at 8 pm.. 
Follow us on Twitter @SportsSentinel Check out our Cavaliers fan page Taitville 
​POSTED 12/16/2022 22:21
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