The Indiana Pacers (41-26) came into Cleveland and started the first quarter by pushing the Cleveland Cavaliers (22-45) around, slammed them down on the ground in the second quarter, stepped on their throats in the third quarter and then finished them off in the fourth quarter by watching them bleed; which tells you exactly what kind of basketball this team has been playing all year.
With Kyrie Irving out, and Dion Waiters pulled from the game for precautionary reasons, the Cavaliers couldn’t do anything offensively. Waiters started the game and played the whole first quarter but didn’t return for the second quarter. He was diagnosed with a knee injury and did not return.
The game got out of hand when the Cavs allowed the Pacers to score 33 points in the second quarter, 13 of which came from Gerald Green, who finished with a team-high 20 points. Tyler Hansbrough, who was making his second start this season due to the injured David West being out, scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
It’s tough to pick out the positives in a game like tonight’s, but Tristan Thompson put together a very impressive double-double: 20 points and 11 rebounds. Tonight’s game was a little personal for Thompson after he and Hansbrough got into a scuffle the last time these two teams met; the bad blood would continue later into the game.
But Thompson’s frontcourt mate, Tyler Zeller, posted his averages of eight points and six assists and did a fairly good job defending the 7-2 Roy Hibbert. Hibbert finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
If it wasn’t for the hot shooting of C.J. Miles, the Cavs could have lost by 40 points tonight. Miles entered the second quarter and took advantage of the open looks he was getting. He buried four of his eight three-point attempts and went 8-of-16 shooting on the night. Marreese Speights only played eight minutes tonight. Speights was ejected in the second quarter after committing a flagrant two foul on Pacers All-Star Paul George. George got out on a fast break but then was pulled down by his neck and thrown to the floor by Speights.
Omri Casspi played in his first game since Feb. 6. Casspi had surgery in late February to have his appendix taken out. And after that, it was rumored he was demanding a trade – Casspi denied those rumors.
The Cavs gave up 42 points in the paint and 25 points at the free throw line.
Cleveland welcomes in the player formerly known as No. 23 Wednesday night. This will be his first meeting in Cleveland this season. His welcome is expected to be a little different from the past two years with all of the 2014 free agency rumors floating around. However, I still expect more boos than cheers. Miami comes into this game riding a 23-game win streak, which is the second-longest win streak in NBA history.