Final Score: Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Indiana Pacers 90-76

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavaliers were able to defend home court and keep their playoff hopes alive as they beat the Eastern Conference leading Pacers.

If only the season started in January...

First thing's first, you're welcome:

The Cavaliers were able to get out to a good start against the Pacers and never looked back. Each time the Pacers made a run in this game, Cleveland had an answer. The Cavs were able to take the hit and hit back even harder and eventually close them out for a comfortable win.

The Cavaliers seem to have adjusted to playing without Kyrie Irving. It's never easy to win without your best player, but the players have cometogether and are playing some great team basketball. The Cavs are 3-1 in their last four and are still alive in the playoff race. Irving has stated that he hopes to be able to play against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. It'll be interesting to see whether or not there will be a hiccup from the team as they try to reintroduce a big piece to the team, but hopefully they can regain the form they were at prior to Irving's injury.

Dion Waiters set the tone early for the Cavaliers. He hit some difficult shots throughout the game, and although he only had one assist and rebound a piece, he played solid defense and made the extra pass throughout the whole night. I can't think of any reason to put Waiters back on the bench when Irving does return to the lineup. He's shown that he can play next to a ball dominant point guard and is doing the little things that can make him an efficient and effective player even when his shot isn't falling. Luckily for the Cavs, his shot was falling tonight and his 19 points were a big part of the win.

Tristan Thompson also had a very good game. He played great defense on David West and created countless second chance opportunities for the Cavs and ended up with 12 points and 16 rebounds. His offensive game is still raw, and he's had a few poor showings lately. But games like this show what a large impact he can have on a game, despite little to no plays drawn up for him.

Quick thoughts:

  • Luol Deng has looked more like Luol Deng since coming back from his injury. He seems to have more explosiveness and looks much more fluid out on the court. If the Cavs are able to follow through on this miraculous push, they will need him to be a big part of that equation.
  • Jarrett Jack looked good again tonight. I feel like a broken record bringing up the health of the players, but he's dealt with nagging injuries all year and he looks like he no longer is laboring as much.
  • I love seeing the ball movement from this team. They finally seem to be learning how to value each possession and are looking to get good looks every time down the court. It would be nice if they were able to put it together earlier in the year. But pressure can break you, or it can make diamonds. Hopefully this experience pays off with future dividends, even if they don't make playoffs.
  • What on earth happened to Roy Hibbert. I had to check the box score on my phone multiple times throughout the game to see if he was still playing. He just doesn't seem to be the same presence on defense that he was during the Pacer's big start to the season and is a complete non-factor on offense. He did eviscerate Tyler Zeller late in the game... but let's not go there.
  • The Cavaliers now have one win less than the 8th place Atlanta Hawks. Tomorrow we are all Sixers fans as Philly travels to take on Atlanta. Hopefully the Sixers can help Steve Hawes get a taste of the playoffs.
  • The officiating was fairly horrendous in this game. The calls were inconsistent and the game got fairly physical at times. It was nice to see the Cavaliers not have a meltdown after a blown call like they would earlier in the season.
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