Wrap-Up – In their first two exhibition games against Boston, the Cavaliers picked up where they left off last year – giving the Celtics fits and taking the first two contests.
On Monday night, the Pacers picked up where they left off last year – as a thorn in the Wine & Gold’s side, handing Cleveland its first Preseason loss, a one-sided 111-102 decision that was never that close.
As Tyronn Lue continues to tinker with rotations heading into the regular season opener next week, the Cavaliers were without several key pieces including Kevin Love, Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson. Lue wanted to get a look at how veteran George Hill and his rookie understudy Collin Sexton looked on the floor at the same time. The reviews were mixed, however, with the point guard duo going a combined 4-for-17 from the floor.
The Pacers had almost their full complement of players, sans Thaddeus Young and Cory Joseph. The league’s reigning Most Improved Player, Victor Oladipo, led all scorers on Monday night – going off for 23 points in 28 minutes, connecting on 6-of-10 shots, including a 3-of-5 mark from long-distance.
The Wine & Gold were paced by veteran Kyle Korver, who came off the bench to net 17 points, going 6-of-10 from the floor, 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
John Holland brought his usual brand of energy off the bench and followed up with 13 points in less than 13 minutes of action – canning all three three-pointers he attempted and going 5-of-7 from the floor overall.
Overall, Ty Lue had to be extremely pleased with the guys at the end of his bench on Monday night. The quartet of Holland, Bonzie Colson, Ante Zizic and Kobi Simmons combined to go 14-of-19 from the floor in the second half of the nine-point loss.
Only two starters notched double-figures for Cleveland – Sam Dekker, who finished with 10 points despite not shooting well from the floor, and Hill, who also struggled to find his rhythm but still managed to play a solid floor game, adding seven boards, five assists and a game-high four steals.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers youngsters will learn soon enough about the importance of closing quarters in the NBA. And they got a good lesson on that topic by the Pacers right before intermission on Monday night.
Domantas Sabonis’ three-pointer to start the second period gave Indiana a ten-point edge, 31-21, and the Pacers kept Cleveland right there for most of the quarter – including when George Hill sank a pair of free throws to make it 49-39, Indiana, with just under four minutes to play in the half.
That’s as good as it would get for the Cavs, however. Victor Oladipo scored seven of Indiana’s next 10 points as the Pacers closed the quarter on a 10-0 run, took a 20-point edge into the locker room and never looked back in the second stanza.
By the Numbers – .615 … Larry Nance’s field goal percentage (8-of-13) over his last two Preseason games at The Q.
Quotable – Colllin Sexton, on playing alongside fellow point guard George Hill on Monday night …
”It felt pretty good – just going out there and trying to get used to it, because I know we’ll probably be on the court at the same time throughout the season. So it’s just Preseason – that’s what it’s for.”
Up Next – After dropping their first Preseason matchup of the year on Monday night, the Wine & Gold wrap up the exhibition schedule next Friday night when they travel to the Jack Breslin Student Center on the campus of Michigan State University to face off against the Pistons. The Cavaliers open the 2018-19 regular season with a pair on the road – facing off against the Raptors on October 17 in Toronto and the T-Wolves two nights later in Minneapolis.