Cameron Payne made a good impression in Cavs’ loss to Pacers

Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost their tenth-straight game with a 123-115 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers started out slow in the first quarter and played arguably their worst quarter of basketball this season. Their offense was lifeless and they turned the ball over every chance they had while the defense gave up open looks on nearly every possession. This lead to a 22-point Indiana Pacers’ lead at the end of the first.

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That lead ballooned to 26 points in the second quarter before the Cavs were able to somewhat right the ship. Cleveland was able to outscore Indiana for the final three quarters of the game but it wasn’t enough. The Cavs fought hard but they weren’t able to cut the deficit to under five points.

Tristan Thompson looked like his old self for the first time since returning from his injury. He was everywhere on the floor as he finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.

Jordan Clarkson was the team’s leading scorer, as he contributed 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting.

The Cavs have now lost ten straight games and are starting a six-game road trip out West. Here’s what we learned from the loss.

Cameron Payne looked solid in his first game in Cleveland

Cameron Payne more than held his own in his first game since reportedly signing a 10-day contract. Payne did a good job of initiating offense for himself and others as he finished with 10 points on four-of-eight shooting with three assists 22 minutes, per ESPN.

Cleveland used Payne in three-guard lineups mostly which, surprisingly, worked out alright because of the multiple ball-handlers and shooters that were on the floor. The Cavs played some of their best basketball of the night with Payne sharing the floor with both Clarkson and Matthew Dellavedova.

Indiana’s short backcourt made this possible as Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, and Cory Joseph are all relatively short for their position. While going small probably isn’t a good strategy moving forward, Payne showed that he can fit nicely with the rest of the second unit, especially Clarkson and Delly.

The Cavs are reportedly in hot water because of how they released Patrick McCaw (according to the New York TimesMarc Stein), but it appears to be the right move from a basketball standpoint. Payne’s skills fit more of what the Cavs need given their lack of offensive initiators at the moment.

Whether he finishes the season in Cleveland remains to be seen, but this was a solid first impression from the former first-round pick.