Cleveland’s offensive firepower was bound to sputter at some point during this 13-game winning streak and boy did it look ugly against Indiana on Friday night.
The Pacers jumped out to a 11-point lead in the first quarter, but LeBron and the Cavs were able to steer the ship to a six-point lead at halftime. Victor Oladipo and the Pacers had other ideas in the second half, using an explosive, high-paced third quarter to win the game.
The story of the game was the Cavaliers’ lack of ability to hit shots in the fourth quarter. Fourth Korver, as James called him, couldn’t find the bottom of the net at all in the final frame. The NBA’s leading scorer in the fourth quarter, LeBron James, couldn’t bring Cleveland back by himself either.
After scoring 63 points in the first half, Cleveland backed it up with 40 in the second half -- five less than what they needed to win this game. The bench unit, which had been stellar during this winning streak, didn’t have an effective night. Jeff Green and Dwyane Wade were a team-worst, minus-17 and minus-12, respectively.
James had himself a solid night on the box score, adding 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. He shot well from the field (12-of-22), but couldn’t find his stroke from deep, only connecting on one three-pointer out of five attempts. J.R. Smith added 15 points, finding his long-range stroke in the final frame. Kevin Love added 20 points and seven rebounds as well.
On the flip side, Oladipo stole the show for Indiana. He’s truly been playing at an All-Star level and at one point in the third quarter, the Cavaliers did not have an answer for him. Coach Tyronn Lue kept J.R. Smith on Oladipo far too long tonight, who couldn’t stay in front of the ex-Hoosier. Oladipo had 33 points on 11-of-24 shooting, including six three-pointers.
Like Lue said post-game, it’s time for Cleveland to start a new win streak. The bright side is that the Cavaliers don’t have to wait long for the opportunity. The Philadelphis 76ers minus Joel Embiid come into Quickens Loan Arena on Saturday night. Tip-off is at 8:00 PM EST.