The Indiana Pacers notched their first preseason win against the Cavs on Saturday night and it wasn't pretty. The game was competitive through the first half. Foul trouble, free throws, poor shooting and poor execution in the second half made the game borderline unwatchable. The loss dropped the Cavs to a record of 3-2 in the preseason. Tristan Thompson had 11 points and 8 rebounds in 21 minutes. Anthony Bennett came off the bench and had an ugly 11 points and 10 rebounds which came at the expense of a 3-11 shooting performance.
There were not many positive things to take away from this game. It was about as much of a preseason game as one could expect. The teams combined for 83 free throws. The Cavs made only 14.3% of their three point attempts. The Pacers were out-rebounded 55-35. The Cavs out-rebounded The Pacers on the offensive boards 17-4. Despite the work on the boards, the Cavs lost by a score of 102-79. The most likely reason for the blowout loss was poor shooting. Cleveland only converted on 29.5% of their shots.
The Cavs big men gave Roy Hibbert problems. The all star center finished the night with 6 points and 3 rebounds. David West, on the other hand, gave the Cavs big men problems. He finished the night with 20 points and 5 rebounds.
The Cavs had a 17-13 advantage after the first quarter. They held the Pacers to 23.5% shooting but could not capitalize much due to the fact that they shot 28% themselves. Tristan Thompson was active in the quarter. He made all three of his shots and had 7 points and 3 rebounds. The Cavs kept the game respectable through the first half. They held onto a 39-36 lead going into halftime. Dion Waiters was struggling and missed all 6 of his field goals. Kyire Irving had 11 points, 4 assists and 4 turnovers. The wheels fell off in the third quarter. Mike Brown went with a young lineup and Frank Vogel kept his veterans in the game. Dion Waiters did his best to keep the Cavs in the game. He scored 9 points on 4/7 shooting. Kyrie Irving committed 4 fouls in the third which capped off his night. The Pacers shot 52.9% in the third which was significantly better than the 34.8% that Cleveland shot. To finish the game, Mike Brown played Anthony Bennett, Matthew Dellavedova and Sergey Karasev the majority of the minutes in the 4th quarter. The result was not pretty. They shot 13.3% and gave up 50% shooting to the Pacers. The Cavs were outscored 33-14.
It is important to not read too much into preseason games. Rotations are not set and systems are still being learned. In addition, you sometimes have veterans playing against players who are not going to make it onto the regular season roster.
The Cavs play the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM.