It didn’t matter that Victor Oladipo didn’t play — the Pacers were just better than the Cavs on Saturday night in Indianapolis.
In their 105-90 loss, the Cavs trailed by as many as 17 points. And every time they seemed back in the game, and got within 10 or so points, they found their comeback attempts rebuffed.
Saturday’s loss drops Cleveland to 11-45 on the season. Jordan Clarkson led the Cavs with 18 points off the bench. Collin Sexton added 16 points to go with four assists and five rebounds, while Larry Nance Jr. recorded his fifth straight double-double with a 16-point, 11-rebound night. Nance also made three three-pointers — the most three-pointers he has ever made in a game.
In the loss, Brandon Knight made his Cavs debut. In just under 11 minutes, Knight scored nine points — all on three-pointers. He also had two assists. In his first start for Cleveland, Marquese Chriss scored seven points and pulled down three rebounds.
Indiana’s biggest advantage over Cleveland is also what makes it a good team. Despite Oladipo being out due to his ruptured quad, the Pacers executed well on both ends and played to their players’ strengths. When Indiana wanted a certain shot or for a certain player to get a clean look, it got what it wanted. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers with 23 points and Darren Collison added 18 points.
Wha is also clear about the Cavs right now is that the recently adjusted roster features lineups featuring that have no familiarity with each other. Saturday’s starting lineup of Sexton, two-way player Deng Adel, David Nwaba, Chriss and Nance was the team’s 22nd starting lineup used this season.
Up next: The Cavs next play on Monday against the also-awful Knicks. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.