After defeating the Hornets Friday night in Charlotte, the Cleveland Cavaliers returned home to battle the Indiana Pacers Sunday night, and for the fourth straight game, Cleveland did not have the services of point guard Darius Garland(back).
The Pacers jumped out on the Cavs and led by as many as 20 points in the first half, but Cleveland stormed back. The Cavs scored the first 19 points in the fourth and would defeat Indiana 98-85 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Cleveland(33-21) has now won two straight and 11 of their last 14. Indiana(19-36) has lost three straight.
Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Pacers.
The Great for the Cavs:
Fourth Quarter/Second Half Cedi Osman: Going into the fourth quarter, Cedi Osman was 1/8 from the floor, including 0/5 from deep, and had only four points. Then, Osman went off. He scored 18 points on 7/8 shooting, including 4/5 from downtown in the fourth. The last player in Cavs’ history to score 18-plus points in a quarter was LeBron James in 2018.
Osman finished the game with 22 points and he scored 13 of Cleveland’s 19 points during the Cavs’ big 19-0 run in the final period.
In addition, Osman’s 18 points in the fourth were the most points he’s scored in a quarter in his career.
Second Half Kevin Love: Kevin Love scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half, including nine in the fourth. Love had six of the 19 points during the team’s 19-0 run in the fourth. The five-time All-Star finished the game 4/8 from downtown, three which came in the fourth. Love also added seven rebounds and five assists.
Second Half Rajon Rondo: The 16-year veteran was big-time Sunday night. He had 10 of his 15 points, including seven in the fourth and eight of his season-high 12 assists in the second half. He also added five rebounds. This was not the playoffs, but we may have gotten a sample of “Playoff Rondo” Sunday night.
Cavs’ Bench: Cleveland got an enormous performance from their bench. The Cavs had 62 bench points, and the bench outscored Cleveland’s starters 62-36.
Cleveland’s bench also outscored the Pacers’ bench by 30 points(62-32).
-Jarrett Allen had 15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Like he did Friday night against Charlotte, Allen had a double-double in the first half. He also added two blocks against the Pacers.
Fourth Quarter: Cleveland entered the fourth trailing 68-61. In the fourth, the Cavs scored the first 19 points and would take an 80-68 lead. Cleveland would have their largest lead of the game of 17 points in the fourth. All told, the Cavs shot 13/18(72%) from the floor, including 8/11(72%) from three-point range. Cleveland would outscore the Pacers 37-17 in the quarter.
Not So Great for the Cavs:
First Quarter: The Cavaliers did not get the start they wanted Sunday night. Cleveland trailed by as many as 18 points in the first quarter. The Cavs shot 4/23(17%) from the field, including 0/5 from deep. Indiana forced five Cavs’ turnovers leading to nine points. Ultimately, the Cavs would trail 27-12 after one and was down 47-36 at the break.
Cleveland showed a lot of scrap Sunday night. They looked dead in the water in the first half, but they slowly crawled their way back and got it done.
Now, the best news. According to ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski, Cleveland will acquire Pacers guard Caris LeVert for a 2022 second-round pick via Miami for Ricky Rubio’s expiring contract, a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick, and two second-round picks.
The Cavs needed another scorer and a guy who gets buckets, and LeVert gets buckets, including scoring 42 points Friday night against the Bulls. This season, LeVert, an Ohio native, is averaging 18.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.
In addition, Cleveland(fourth seed) is now one game behind the Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The goal coming into the season was to be better and possibly make the playoffs, and now, the goal could be the NBA Finals.
“This team doesn’t have any fear because we trust each other,” Love said after the game.
Cleveland will have a few days off before they battle the Spurs Wednesday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Best of the Rest:
Chris Duarte led the Pacers with 22 points, Duane Washington Jr. added 17 points and Domantas Sabonis had nine points and 11 rebounds.
Evan Mobley added nine points, four rebounds, and three blocks for Cleveland. This was Mobley’s 23rd multi-block game of the season, which is the most among rookies.
-Cleveland forced 19 turnovers which led to 24 points. In addition, they held the Pacers to 37% shooting from the floor, including 26% from deep.
-Lauri Markkanen(ankle) missed his seventh straight game Sunday night.
-Cleveland had five players in double figures.
Watch below as Rondo talks big win over Pacers, LeVert, more: