On Tuesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers began a three-game road trip in Indiana against the Pacers.
Cleveland got a big night from Darius Garland, who had a career-high 41 points, including the game-winning free throws with 14 seconds left as the Cavs defeated the Pacers 127-124 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The Cavs(38-27) have won two straight, while Indiana(22-45) has dropped three in a row.
Here is the Great, Not So Great, and Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Pacers.
The Great for the Cavs:
Garland!: Darius Garland was just ridiculous. The Gary, Indiana native, had 21 of his career-high 41 points in the fourth quarter to go along with 13 assists, five rebounds, and two steals. The last Cavs player to have 40-plus points and 10-plus assists in a game was, of course, LeBron James(2018).
The All-Star carried the Cavs in the fourth. With just under a minute to go, and the Cavs trailing 122-120, Garland’s driving layup tied things up, and he made the game-winning free throws.
What a night for Garland, who finished with 31 points in the second half.
–Evan Mobley: No Jarrett Allen, no problem. Rookie Evan Mobley filled in at the center spot and recorded his second straight 20 and 10 double-double as he had 22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and a career-high five steals. He also had a big tip-in late in the contest to tie the game at 124 with 33.6 seconds left. Mobley did it all for the Cavs Tuesday night.
-Lauri Markkanen had a strong game for the Cavs. He had 21 points and five rebounds. This was Markkanen’s second consecutive 20-plus point game.
Fourth Quarter: Cleveland trailed 98-90, entering the fourth quarter. However, they got it done in the fourth, especially Garland(7-10 FG). As a whole, the Cavs shot 59% from the floor. They outscored the Pacers 37-26 in the quarter.
–Lamar Stevens: He made two big defensive plays down the stretch. With the game tied at 124, Stevens made a big block on Malcolm Brogdon’s layup attempt, which was retrieved by Mobley, who gave it off to Garland, who was fouled and hit the game-winning free throws.
The next possession, Dean Wade had a deflection, which Stevens grabbed. Ultimately, Stevens won the “Junkyard Dog Award” for his defense late in the game. He finished with nine points.
The Not So Great for the Cavs:
Defense: Despite the win and Stevens’ big plays on defense, Cleveland did not have their best defensive performance Tuesday night. They allowed the Pacers to score 124 points in regulation, and Indiana shot 54% from the floor, including 50%(16/32) from downtown. Without Allen and Caris LeVert, Cleveland will need their defense. They did create 18 turnovers to their credit, which led to 23 points for the Cavs.
The Cavs needed this game. They had to win, especially with back-to-back road games against the Heat and Bulls coming up.
Fortunately for Cleveland, Garland and Mobley got the job done.
According to Cavs Notes, the 22-year-old Garland(41) and the 20-year-old Mobley (22) combined for 63 points. They are the first Cavs’ teammates age 22 or younger to combine for 63-plus points in a single game since 2013.
As for the standings, the sixth-seeded Cavaliers are now a 1/2 game behind the fifth-seeded Celtics(39-27).
Cleveland continues their three-game road trip Friday night in Miami against the Heat.
Best of the Rest:
Indiana had eight players in double figures, led by Tyrese Haliburton’s 25 points and nine assists. Goga Bitadze, Jalen Smith, and Duane Washington Jr. had 15 points apiece.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Cavs. Isaac Okoro added 11 points, and Wade chipped in with 10.
-The Cavs(4-0) swept the season series with the Pacers.
-Rajon Rondo returned after missing six games with a toe injury. He went scoreless in 11 minutes of action, but he did have two rebounds and four assists
LeVert(foot) missed his seventh straight game.
Watch below as Mobley and Garland react to the win over the Pacers: