INDIANAPOLIS – Nate McMillan wanted his team to come back from the All-Star break and try to get back the 6 games it had lost in a row just before the break.
Well, Indiana is eating away at that goal, following their 4th win in 5 tries on Saturday night.
The Pacers (36-24) played one of their better 4th quarters of the season in beating the Cavaliers, 113-104.
Indiana’s starters combined for 99 of the 113 points, as the Pacers started their longest road trip of the season with a victory
“I thought they played well together,” McMillian said of his starters finally getting more run together. “(In) the minutes that they played, I thought they established us in that first and third quarter and they finished strong. I thought defensively they stayed together and they found a way to get stops in that fourth quarter to win this game.”
T.J. Warren led Indiana with a game-high 30 points (14-of-22 shooting) and was huge in the game-deciding 4th quarter.
Cleveland (17-43), who has the worst record in the Eastern Conference, entered Saturday night coming off a road Friday game in New Orleans.
The Cavs though had plenty of impressive moments on Saturday, with Andre Drummond (27 points and 13 rebounds) back in the lineup.
With the Pacers switching Domantas Sabonis onto Drummond for the second half, the Pacers allowed just 46 points after halftime.
Sabonis finished the night with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists.
Guards Malcolm Brogdon (22 points on 9-of-13 shooting) and Victor Oladipo (19 points on 7-of-15 shooting) had their best night of the season together.
Three Things Learned
-Another Clincher From Turner: We will get into the defense of Myles Turner below. But Saturday night marked the second straight game from Turner in which he knocked down a game-clinching three-pointer. It was Turner putting the ball on the floor, stepping to his left and hitting a three right before the shot clock expired to push Indiana’s lead to 111-104 with 59 seconds to go. Watching Turner react to both of his big shots and you see the sheer elation. This is a guy who needs a jolt of confidence, and Thursday and Saturday should provide some of that for him.
-Starters Lead Big Finish: We are now getting more and more looks at the Pacers finally having their starting 5 together. It was that bunch on the floor together finishing off Saturday’s win in impressive style. The Pacers were incredibly efficient, on both ends of the floor, in getting the road win. T.J. Warren continued to display his unique offensive game. At various moments on Saturday, all 5 of Indiana’s starters gave some critical production to the 113 points. Indiana must win with balance and they did that on Saturday, as Warren was the catalyst.
-Defending The Bigs: Saturday night was yet another display of Andre Drummond just dominating Myles Turner when Indiana was on defense. It got so bad that Indiana decided to risk foul trouble with Domantas Sabonis by trying him on Drummond in the second half. That result was much better for the Pacers. Turner’s on-ball defense against the elite bigs in this league continues to be an issue. Fortunately for the Pacers, Joel Embiid is really the only true back-to-the basket big guy that Indiana is likely to see in the playoffs. If Turner wants to be known as one of the best defensive players in this league, his on-ball defending has to improve.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-at Spurs 3/2 (Monday)
-at Bucks 3/4 (Wednesday)
-at Bulls 3/6 (Friday)
-at Mavericks 3/8 (Sunday)
-Celtics 3/10 (Tuesday)