In the first half of Friday night's game in Conseco Fieldhouse the Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers combined to play a first half that actually featured less defense than an NBA All-Star game.
If you had to pop a Dramamine to settle your motion sickness you weren't alone. Remember those ‘suicide' drills you used to run in practice? Start at the baseline, run to the free throw line, back to the baseline then run to the mid-court line, back to the baseline and then down to the far free throw line, once more to the baseline and then a sprint to the opposite end of the court.
That was the first half of Cavs vs. Pacers. It was dizzying.
But ultimately the game came down to one team getting 40 points from their superstar and playing five minutes of team defense. And it wasn't Danny Granger who poured in 40.
The Cavaliers got a huge night from LeBron James and were whipped and cajoled into playing some good team defense down the stretch to outlast the Pacers in Indianapolis 105-95. The teams may have just had nothing left in the tank after the first half ended with the Cavs leading 66-61 and Mike Brown looking like he was ready to throw up.
Luckily for Brown and the Cavs, James was on his game. LBJ led the way for Cleveland by scoring 40 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out seven assists. James knocked down his first seven shots and finished 13-25 from the floor including a dagger of a three-point bomb with the game winding down that had to have been launched from 28 feet away.
As has been the case for the better part of the last two weeks LBJ got a lot of support from second year forward J.J. Hickson. Hickson went 7-9 from the floor and tallied 15 points and seven rebounds of his own, most of them coming on dunks off of James feeds.
Mo Williams also chipped in 18 points and four assists and Anderson Varejao played like his hair was on fire all night as he scored ten points and corralled seven rebounds while also making a pain in the ass of himself defensively. For AV, Friday night's frenetic pace came after a couple of games of inactivity while he recovered from a hip contusion.
For the Pacers, Granger scored 19 points but he had to fire up 21 shots to get them. It wasn't his finest moment. Dahntay Jones and Brandon Rush scored 17 points and 16 points respectively to help pace the...umm...Pacers.
The win moves the Cavs to 9-4 on the season while the Pacers fall to 5-5.
The NBA: Where consistent inconsistency wears a whistle around its neck.
They Got Next
Another quick turnaround before the next game tips off for the Cavaliers. They'll fly home from Indiana and be on the court less than 20 hours later against the Philadelphia 76ers at ‘The Q'.
That game tips off at 730pm and can be seen on FSN Ohio. The 76ers will be on the second night of a back-to-back as well and they were handled Friday night, in their building, by the Memphis Grizzlies. Philadelphia is 5-7 on the season.