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(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – The Indiana Pacers (25-30) conclude their three-game homestand with a 122-103 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers (33-22).

The first twelve minutes of basketball was a dog fight for both teams. It wasn’t a quarter where team were exchanging the lead constantly as it was only changed one time, but the game was tied three times in total. Indiana led by as much as six points early in the game when it was 6-0 and then again at 8-2. Indiana prevented Cleveland from leading until there was 4:51 left in the first quarter. However, Indiana never recovered from that point. They would fail to tie the game or retake the lead for the remainder of the quarter. The largest deficit for the Pacers was five points when Cleveland went ahead 23-15. After the first twelve minutes of play, Cleveland led 27-25. What kept the Pacers in the game was their ability to get to the foul line. They went 6/10 from the line but struggled elsewhere. They shot 41% from the field, 20% from three, and turned the ball over four times. Myles Turner led all scorers with 10 points in the quarter.

The final 4:51 in the first quarter would be very indicative on how the rest of the first half would go. Cleveland made 50% of their shots in the first and would improve their field goal percentage in the second quarter to 56.5%. For most of the quarter, Indiana was able to keep the game close. In fact, they led 37-36 before the Cavaliers closed the final 6:35 by outscoring the Pacers 26-10. Turner picked up his third foul with 5:44 to go in the half and after that is when the Cavaliers really took the game over. At intermission, Cleveland would possess at 62-46 advantage. Darius Garland led all scorers with 14 points and was one of five players in double digits. Jarrett Allen, Buddy Hield, and Tyrese Haliburton each had 10 points and Turner had a dozen.

Offense would be the one word to describe the third quarter. After only scoring 46 points in the first twelve minutes of play, Indiana would put up a whopping 38 in the third quarter. The bad news is that the defense was not playing up to standard like last game against Sacramento. Indiana surrendered 36 points in the quarter to Cleveland with 15 coming beyond the three-point line by going 5/8. Turner had a phenomenal third for Indiana. He scored 15 points in the quarter with a good portion of those coming after Indiana was down 23 points. Cleveland received an offensive boost from an unlikely candidate in Isaac Okoro. He came into the game averaging 6 points per game and scored 11 in the quarter alone. After three quarters of play, Indiana was down 98-84.

After exerting so much energy in the third quarter, the Pacers just looked flat, tired, and worn out in the fourth quarter. The offense struggled to get into a flow against the NBA’s top team in defensive efficiency. Indiana only registered eight points in the first six minutes of play when the Cavaliers offense was not operating at peak efficiency either. The benefit Cleveland had was that Indiana was giving them second chance opportunities, free throw attempts, and transition baskets following a turnover. Only two players scored 5+ points in the quarter…both Cavaliers in Mobley and Garland. The two teams combined for a modest 43 points in the quarter after combining for 74 in the previous period. The final score was Cleveland 122 – Indiana 103.

TOP PERFORMERS: Darius Garland (24p, 6a), Isaac Okoro (20p), Jarrett Allen (18p, 13r), Evan Mobley (17p 10r, 3b), Myles Turner (27p, 10r, 3b), and Tyrese Haliburton (15p, 11a). For tonight’s full box score, click here.

NOTES: Tyrese Haliburton upped his season total of double-doubles to 24, Myles Turner registered his 16th double-double on the season and third straight, Jarrett Allen notched his 22nd double-double, and Evan Mobley tallied his 16th double-double. The Pacers have now lost 12 of their last 13.

NEXT UP: The Pacers will have Monday and Tuesday off before flying south for a one-game road trip to Miami to take on the Heat. Tipoff on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:30pm with the Kroger Pregame Show starting at 7pm with Pay Boylan on 93.5/107.5 The Fan.

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