Kyrie Irving's layup rolled off of the rim as time expired in regulation. If the shot had fallen, the Cavs would have pulled a relatively impressive upset on the road. Instead, the game went to overtime where Danny Granger led the Pacers to a 98-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
I apologize for the abbreviated recap. I had prior engagements on Friday night and had to catch up on the game later. I'll try to make it up to y'all sometime.
Cavs Leaders: Points: Irving, 20; Rebounds: Varejao, 13; Assists: Irving, Gee, 4
Quick Thoughts: The Cavs could have, perhaps should have, won this game. Although the Pacers are a significantly better team than Cleveland, the Cavs controlled the game early on. They got out to a fast start, led by Irving. The third quarter, however, got incredibly sloppy. There were zero passing lanes and the Cavs couldn't get anything going on offense. They played tough down the stretch, only to get a bad roll on the final layup and send the game into overtime. As soon as the game entered overtime, I got the distinct feeling that Indiana would wind up winning the game, but that's no matter. This is basically the ideal game for the Cavs this season. Play competitive, show blatant signs of improvement and development, but realize that losing games and getting a high draft pick is not a bad thing.
Although Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao had pretty good rebounding games, the Pacers still got way too many offensive rebounds. 17 is simply too many if you expect to win games. Roy Hibbert alone had 5 offensive boards. It certainly didn't help that Tristan Thompson was in foul trouble for much of the game and only managed to be on the court for 17 minutes. He had two early blocks, but then was relatively nonexistent. Like I've said before, Tigger's interior defense >>>>>> Antawn Jamison's defense.
As far as turnovers go, it wasn't terrible. 18 turnovers is something that you can live with. What you can't live with is the fact that the Cavs only had 13 assists to go along with those 18 turnovers. You don't have to be a basketball expert to recognize that if you have more turnovers than assists, that's a bad thing. Irving had 4 assists to 3 turnovers, not bad but not great. That's somewhere that the Cavaliers could obviously improve.
I'm not one to bitch about the officiating, but it was questionable at best. Samardo Samuels and Tristan Thompson both got into foul trouble and were only able to play 15 and 17 minutes, respectively. I have to think that if the Cavs were able to utilize two of their better bigs for longer stretches, this game would have turned out differently.
Fear The Sword's Player Of The Game:
You could argue for Kyrie Irving and I'm sure that some of you will. He has a argument, obviously. He posted his first career 20-point game and looked downright dominant in the first quarter. However, the offense got stagnant down the stretch and Irving started settling for jumpers. We know that he's a great shooter, but the jumpers haven't been falling so far in the early going. Irving shot only 3 of 10 from 16 feet and further from the basket. Often times, these shots were pretty early in the shot clock when we definitely could have gotten a better look. Therefore, I am compelled to give the nod to Andy. He played a team high 38 minutes due to the foul trouble for Samuels and TT. Furthermore, that meant he had to cover up for a lot of 'Tawn's defensive mistakes against a pretty strong Pacers front line. Andy ended up grabbing 13 boards to go along with 14 points. He is the most consistent player for the Cavaliers right now and a game like this is just further proof of that.