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INDIANAPOLIS – The stakes were just slightly different for this trip to Cleveland.
Preseason game No. 3 on Monday night obviously didn’t have the feel of a Game 7 in the playoffs, but the Pacers still showed off a lot of good things as they played their starters extended minutes.
Indiana beat a new-look Cleveland team, 111-102, with Nate McMillan trying to play a more normal looking rotation in the final two preseason games of the year.
Even though the Pacers led by as many as 24 points and were ahead for nearly the entire game, McMillan found several things to critique after the win.
“I thought the first half we had a lot of energy on the defensive end of the floor and was working to play our defense,” McMillan said of taking a 59-39 lead at halftime. “Offensively, I thought we could’ve been better. A lot of one on one play in that first half. We were scoring a little bit but we only had seven assists. I loved our defense. Our energy was there. Kind of reversed in the second half. No defensive energy. Offensively, I thought we were a little stagnant. We lost that second half 62 to 52. Gave up 62 points in that second half. Lost both quarters so we have to continue to condition ourselves to be able to play this game on both ends of the floor.”
Victor Oladipo continued his nice start to October, with a game-high 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting (3-of-5 from behind the arc) in 28 minutes.
For a third straight preseason game, Domantas Sabonis had a double-double (16 points and 12 rebounds) in 23 minutes off the bench. Sabonis and Tyreke Evans once again teamed up for some nice two-man action. Evans had 14 points and 6 assists in 27 minutes on the floor.
Starting center Myles Turner had 8 points and 9 rebounds in 28 minutes.
Second-year forward T.J. Leaf has taken advantage of starting minutes with Thaddeus Young (foot) still resting. Leaf had 13 points and 6 rebounds in a game-high 34 minutes.
The Pacers did clean up their turnovers on Monday, committing just 12 for the entire game. Rebounding has been a major focus for the Pacers this offseason. Indiana beat Cleveland on the glass, 46-40, along with outscoring the Cavs by 18 points in the paint.
Off the bench, youngster Edmond Sumner had 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Sumner’s extended run on Monday came with Cory Joseph (knee) out. Sumner has probably been the biggest surprise of the preseason. With a crowded backcourt though, Sumner’s likely impact this season is in the G-League, before possibly growing into a bigger role next year.
The Pacers will have one final preseason game on Wednesday in Chicago, before opening up the regular season next Wednesday, at home, against the Grizzlies.
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