The Indiana Pacers controlled the tempo all night as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-85 in Cleveland, Ohio. Every member of the Pacers contributed in a positive way, from the veterans to the rookies who continue to impress after every game. The starting unit led the way from the start. Ian Mahinmi and Monta Ellis had the more impressive and efficient night with 16 and 14 points, respectively.
The starting unit had a great start on a 19-8 run which saw Ian Mahinmi, Monta Ellis, and George Hill scoring 15 of the first 19 points of the game for the Pacers. Hill finished with eight points and three assists on the night in 22 minutes, but struggled with foul trouble toward the end of the first half. Hill's absence opened up the point guard spot for Monta Ellis in the second half to display his passing ability in a fast-paced offense.
The Pacers came out of halftime with a 53-38 lead and the third quarter gave Ellis a chance to display his passing ability, and he succeeded by implementing Paul George in the offense. George finished with nine of his 17 points in the third quarter and finished 5 of 16 from the floor with eight rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes. Ellis finished off an efficient night with 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field in 23 minutes
As the veterans set the pace for the contest, rookies Myles Turner and Joseph Young maintained that pace throughout the game. Myles Turner displayed his defensive skills with many key blocks from the weak side which sparked a few fast breaks. Turner also displayed his range from the perimeter, finishing with 20 minutes, 11 points, six rebounds, and maintaining his average of two blocks per game in the preseason. Young did an impressive job of running the offense, especially for a rookie, as he finished with 10 points, six assists, and three rebounds in 20 minutes.
From a team aspect, the offense was expected to run at a faster pace, and it showed as the team finished on 46 percent shooting and had 21 assists on 35 shots. The team had a concentrated effort of driving to the basket and this resulted in 43 free-throw attempts, making 33.
Defensively, the Pacers showed sparks of what fans were missing last year. Paul George, George Hill, and Monta Ellis had many deflections that at times stopped any offensive flow that the Cavaliers had at the time. This type of defensive pressure must continue if the Pacers are going to be successful on both ends of the floor for the regular season and beyond. The pressure resulted in 13 steals for Indiana and 23 turnovers for Cleveland. It also marked the first time all season that Indiana held a team to under 40 percent shooting in the opening period.
Frank Vogel on playing George more with less rest: "He always says, 'Don't need any. I rested last year.'"
The Cleveland Cavaliers had decent production from the only certain rotation players for the season as Richard Jefferson finished with 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting in 24 minutes, J.R. Smith finished the game with 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting in 24 minutes, while Timofey Mozgov 16 points and six rebounds in 26 minutes. The rest of the Cavaliers were just not efficient enough on either side of the floor to keep the pace with Indiana.
The Road Ahead:
The Pacers next play the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, October 20, and then play a neutral site game in Fort Wayne, Indiana when they face the Charlotte Hornets.