The team managed to hang around for much of the game but ultimately the absence of resistance on the defensive perimeter made it too difficult to keep up on the scoreboard. Victor Olapido and Darren Collison in particular fed off the weak perimeter defense getting into the heart of the defense and creating for both themselves and others.
Part of the reason the Cavs hung around for as long as they did was the stellar play of Larry Nance Jr. After the Pacers made their initial run, Nance provided Cleveland a spark with his versatile game.
He created opportunities off of offensive rebounds and showed his vision as a passer, bringing the ball up the court and creating out of the high post. In addition to that, Nance showed off some finesse, drilling a few jumpers from the midrange.
The absence of consistency continues to be an issue for the Cavaliers. Already short on talent, they made matters worse by turning the ball over and giving the Pacers extra possessions.
Indiana’s big men had a field day against Cleveland. The poor perimeter defense meant that the Cavs centers often had to provide help defense after the blown coverage opening up dump off passes to the Indiana big men. While the Cavs clearly are trying to get defensive stops, but their energy doesn’t seem to be directed into executing any sort of defensive system. The communication is poor and the coverages break down with relative ease.
Now the Cavs will have to marinate with this loss as they prepare to take on the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night. Atlanta was the team that truly launched the team into their current tailspin, erasing a 15 point deficit and turning it into a blowout in their favor. Cleveland will need to find a way to avenge that loss if they want to get into the win column for the first time this season.