They are seeking hard-fought victories, like the one they got
Sunday, 82-78 over the Cleveland Cavaliers before 17,502 at Quicken
"There were no style points tonight," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
"None. Zero. I can assure you that, unless you like defense."
The Pacers (27-6) came into the game with the league's best record
and top-ranked defense. They limited the Cavs to 34.2 percent
shooting from the field.
"Our defense was pretty strong most of the night," Vogel said.
Forward Paul George had a team-high 16 points for the Pacers, while
center Roy Hibbert added 15.
The Pacers' stout defense was challenged by Cavs shooting guard Dion
Waiters, who scored 12 of his 14 points in a span of 4:43 in the
fourth quarter. That brought the Cavs (11-23) back from a 16-point
"We finally got Waiters under control," Vogel said. "He had a
stretch where he had four straight baskets, including a big 3."
He made five of 11 shots in the fourth, including two of three from
the 3-point line.
The Cavs were playing without their top two point guards, Kyrie
Irving and Jarrett Jack, which pressed Matthew Dellavedova into
Waiters loves playing the Pacers, who have won nine in a row over
"They are a physical team," he said. "They bring out the best in us.
You have to bring it or it will be a long night."
Shooting guard C.J. Miles led all scorers with 21 points and six
rebounds for the Cavs, while power forward Tristan Thompson added 13
points and 10 rebounds.
The Cavs had a chance to possibly send the game into overtime for
the fourth consecutive home game or even take the lead. But Waiters
missed a highly contested layup with 8.9 seconds left. The Pacers
held an 80-78 lead at the time.
"George is a good defender," Waiters said. "I knew I could get by
him. It's the second guy you have to worry about."
That second guy was the 7-foot-2 Hibbert, who challenged the shot
and grabbed the rebound on the miss.
Hibbert split two free throws with 7.9 seconds left, which gave the
Cavs a chance. They trailed by three points, 81-78.
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Dellavedova had much trouble getting the ball inbounds, but
found forward Earl Clark in the corner. Unfortunately, he was
standing out of bounds for an unforced turnover, which pretty
much ended the Cavs' upset hopes.
Pacers power forward David West went to the foul line and split
two free throws with 5.4 seconds left for a four-point margin.
"We've been in that situation so many times," George said. "The
best thing for us was to just stay together and hold them off
for the last couple possessions."
Cavs coach Mike Brown liked the way his team competed.
"We gave ourselves a chance to win," he said. "It wasn't always
pretty. I liked the fight our team showed tonight."
Cavs center Anderson Varejao pulled down a game-high 13
rebounds. He's averaging 16.7 rebounds over his last three
Dellavedova had 11 points, two assists and two steals.
"He was extremely vocal out there," Brown said. "He's a natural
leader. He's an undrafted free agent. It's tough to do what he's
doing, but the guys are following his lead."
NOTES: The Cavaliers are facing the best team in the NBA without
their top two point guards, Jarrett Jack (back spasms) and Kyrie
Irving (left knee contusion). Undrafted rookie Matthew
Dellavedova made his fourth start of the season, but first at
point guard. ... Cavs coach Mike Brown has steadfastly refused
to insert G Dion Waiters into the starting lineup. "I like his
role as a spark plug coming off the bench," Brown said. ...
Brown said the Cavs remain focused despite the trade rumors
floating around regarding C Andrew Bynum. ... After his 4-for-4
performance from behind the arc on Saturday, Dellavedova is
leading the team in 3-point percentage at 46.3 percent. ...
Indiana came into Sunday's game with the best record in the
Eastern Conference at 26-6. The Pacers' Frank Vogel could be
asked to coach in the East All-Star Game in February. He never
thought about coaching in the All-Star Game when he took over
the coaching reigns. "I was hopeful the team would have that
level of success," Vogel said. "It's not clinched yet. I knew
we'd have a bright future." ... The Pacers are first in
opponents' field-goal percentage (41.3 percent) and points
allowed (88.9). "David West is the leader of (our defense),"
Vogel said. "He's our middle linebacker on the defensive end."
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