The Cleveland Cavaliers, somehow, someway, got the job done.
The Cavs trailed by as many as 21 points on Friday night in a road game against the Indiana Pacers. They gave up 47 points in the first quarter. They trailed for much of the game, at times making a push only for the deficit to inch closer to double digits.
And then, as they seem to do over and over again, the Cavs got it done. In the fourth quarter, the Cavs’ defense took over, holding the Pacers to just 17 points on 7-22 shooting. For the entire quarter, regardless of who else was on the floor, Cleveland’s defense pressure ramped up and denied Indiana the open looks it had had for much of the game.
The Cavs’ win also came in large part to their newest acquisition: Caris LeVert. In his just his second game for Cleveland (and his first start, as he was filling in for an injured Darius Garland in the starting lineup), LeVert finished with 22 points and 5 assists. In the fourth quarter, he was a perfect 4-4 from the field.
Rajon Rondo, in perhaps his best game as a Cavaliers, scored 10 points of his own in the fourth quarter as part of a 17-point, 7-assist, 6-rebound performance off the bench. Evan Mobley, meanwhile, had just 8 points and 1 rebound, but blocked three shots and had 2 steals as part of a largely dominant defensive performance.
The win puts the Cavs’ record at 35-21 on the year. As of publication, pending the results of Friday’s Bulls-Timberwolves game, they are tied for second in the Eastern Conference. If Chicago loses, Cleveland will have sole possession of second place.
Up next: The Cavs play Saturday in Philadelphia against the 76ers. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. EST.