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INDIANAPOLIS – The anticipation was just a tick below the last time the Pacers and Cavaliers met in Cleveland.

No ‘Game 7’ tag was assigned to this game. LeBron James has moved to Los Angeles. And Kevin Love was actually in street clothes on Saturday night.

Even with a few less eyes on this October regular season game, the Pacers handled the business trip like they should have, pulling away from the Cavaliers in the final quarter for a 119-107 victory.

Bojan Bogdanovic (25 points) and Victor Oladipo (24 points) led the Pacers to an extremely efficient 64.9{5cc93c20f90a32e13f8959d57682c5e5d5b1db216370168a8280434e1df7d759} night from the floor.

Thanks to 28 assists and 60 points in the paint, Indiana won consecutive games for the first time this season.

“We knew they (Cavs) were going to come out with a sense of urgency and scrap, and they did,” Nate McMillan said after his team kept Cleveland winless through the first six games of the season. “They played hard and they out worked us, especially in the first half rebounding the ball. They ended up with 16 offensive rebounds and really just out scrapped us.

“But I thought our guys hung in there and did the things we needed to do to win this game. We got stops when we needed to. We kept working and was able to really just wear them down and then score the ball. thought our execution was better. Good ball movement and I thought we did a good job of recognizing where we had matchups.”

A five-point halftime lead for the Pacers steadily grew in the second half. Indiana (4-2) has yet to play a game this season decided by single digits.

The Pacers played without Tyreke Evans on Saturday night, who was suspended one game for violating team rules.

Without Evans, the scoring burden fell more on the starters and they responded with all 5 guys scoring in double figures.

Domantas Sabonis added 15 points off the bench.

 

Three Pacers’ Takeaways:

Take Care Of The Bottom Feeders: Yes, the Cavaliers are not the LeBron-led Cavs. They are one of the worst teams in the NBA, especially when Kevin Love isn’t in the lineup. But Indiana did what it needed to. So many times we see a playoff team squander chances at homecourt because they couldn’t dominate a season series over a lottery team. The 4-2 start for the Pacers has seen them take care of business against some of league bottom feeders. That’s key, because the schedule really toughens up once November arrives.

End Of Game Situations: Six games into the 2018-19 season, the Indiana Pacers have yet to play a game decided by less than 10 points. Honestly, they really haven’t had any game that’s been in serious doubt during the final quarter. There were some early moments in Saturday’s fourth quarter with the Cavs still hanging around, but the Pacers quickly stretched that lead to double figures. Obviously, end of game situations are going to arise for Indiana. You wonder if there are some growing pains that might come up, given the lack of experience in such games, for this new group, in 2018. How Nate McMillan will handle late-game lineups and how the Pacers react to those moments are things to keep an eye on.

 

Evans Suspended: It’s been a while since the Pacers have had an issue with a player leading to a team-imposed suspension. But they had one Saturday night with Tyreke Evans. Before Saturday’s game in Cleveland, Nate McMillan said that Evans broke guidelines set out by the team, resulting in the one-game suspension. Chemistry and culture are core values that the Pacers simply do not mess around with, so Evans must adapt to things in Indiana. Also, for the Pacers to have a realistic shot at any sort of deep playoff run this season, they need Evans on the floor. McMillan has sent a message to his new guard and to his entire team. We will see how the 9-year pro responds to being kept at home.

 

Pacers Upcoming Schedule

-Portland (Monday, 10/29)

-@New York (Wednesday, 10/31)

-@Chicago (Friday, 11/2)

-Boston (Saturday, 11/3)

-Houston (Monday, 11/5)