The Indiana Pacers are really good. They might win the NBA title this year. Their defense is far and away the best in the NBA and they upgraded an awful bench this summer with credible pieces like CJ Watson and Luis Scola. The Cavaliers are not a team on their level. Still, the Cavaliers hung in there and led for most of the game. Until they didn't.
The Pacers outscored the Cavaliers 26-10 in the fourth quarter. Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson combined for 11-33 shooting for 29 points. Quite simply, you can't expect Cleveland to win when that happens. Irving didn't even shoot until halfway through the second quarter. Irving's usage has been down over the last couple weeks which is generally good. You don't want Irving completely dominating the ball, but there has to be a balance. The Cavaliers offense needs his scoring if they are going to function effectively.
The Cavaliers defense, outside of some bad transition effort, was solid for most of this game. Roy Hibbert was pretty effective, but the Cavaliers don't really have anyone who can really put a body on him. When the fourth quarter came around, the Cavaliers got careless with the basketball and it led to easy baskets for the Pacers. CJ Miles and Jarrett Jack, in particular, gave the ball up at crucial moments.
There is reason to be thankful, it appears. Kyrie Irving went down in the third quarter with an injury to his left knee. It looked bad and after immediately getting up he went back down around halfcourt. He returned to the game with a minor limp and wasn't effective. I am sure there will be tests done and hopefully everything checks out. Despite internet talk about how Kyrie Irving is responsible for a lot of these Cavaliers losses, I hope it's clear how devastating losing him would be.
The loss drops the Cavaliers to 10-21. This isn't where I think many of us thought the team would be heading into the year, especially given the relative health. Hopefully Waiters and Thompson play better. I am not sure there is anything else more important to the team's future.
I don't have too much more because its New Year's Eve and I want to spend time with my friends. Hope everyone is safe and 2014 is everything you want it to be. It was my first full year as writer for this website and I enjoy it very much.