NBA: Pacers close out Cavaliers with balanced approach


Posted at Jan 01 2021 03:44 PM

NBA: Pacers close out Cavaliers with balanced approach 1
Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) shoots the ball over Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman (16) in the second quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Trevor Ruszkowski, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Domantas Sabonis led six Indiana scorers in double-figures with 25 points and the Pacers closed 2020 with a 119-99 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday at Indianapolis.

One game after they let a 17-point second-half lead slip away in a loss to the Boston Celtics, the Pacers saw a 22-point fourth-quarter lead sliced in half midway through the period thanks to the Cavaliers' backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.

Sexton scored a game-high 28 points, and Garland added 21 in the first of six consecutive road contests for Cleveland.

Victor Oladipo knocked down the fourth and final of his 3-pointers with 5:11 remaining to set off a decisive 10-2 run for Indiana down the stretch and turn a 101-90 lead into a 111-92 advantage. Oladipo had 16 points as all five Pacers starters were in double figures.

Malcolm Brogdon scored 17 points for Indiana, Myles Turner notched 14, Aaron Holiday had 12 and Doug McDermott came off the bench with 18 points. McDermott added nine rebounds and was 3 of 6 from behind the 3-point line.

Both sides shot well from long range, with Indiana going 16 of 35 (45.7 percent) and Cleveland knocking down 12 of 23 (52.2 percent).

Sabonis recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds, and Turner helped key a stout defensive effort with four steals.

Indiana surged ahead by double digits in the first quarter, while holding Cleveland to just 21 points. 

The Pacers allowed just 17 third-quarter points to extend their advantage to 88-68, holding the Cavaliers to 39.7 percent shooting from the floor through the first 36 minutes.

Cleveland shot a much-improved 63.2 percent from the field in the fourth quarter, but could not overcome 19 turnovers. The takeaways helped fuel Indiana's 24-13 fast-break scoring advantage.

While Sexton and Garland heated up, the rest of the Cavaliers struggled to get going offensively. Andre Drummond had 11 points, and his 13 rebounds matched teammate JaVale McGee. Larry Nance Jr. had 10 points for Cleveland.

Of Cleveland's 37 made field goals, Sexton and Garland were responsible for 20.