Despite leading by as many as 22, the Cleveland Cavaliers ultimately fell to the Indiana Pacers as their struggles persist. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers traveled to Indiana after two-consecutive annihilations by the Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors. Cleveland got off to a strong start and led 34-12 after the first quarter, and LeBron James looked like he was on a mission to squash a Pacers team with less talent. It most certainly didn’t go that way.

Indiana, behind Victor Oldaipo and Lance Stephenson, began chipping away throughout the second quarter and broke through in the third. They dropped in 32 points while holding the Cavaliers to just 16, giving them the 76-74 lead going into the fourth.

Stephenson, who’s been a thorn in James’ side for as long as we can remember, was annoying the four-time MVP, and James shoved him with 7:53 to go in the game. It resulted in a technical foul on James.

“Lance is just a little dirty, that’s all. He’s a little dirty,” said James. “I should have known, I’ve known since school, it’s not the guy who tells the joke that gets caught it’s the guy who laughs. They caught me on the retaliation. He played well, though.”

About five minutes later, Oladipo came through and hit the biggest shot of the night. With 2:10 left and the Pacers down two, he launched a 26-footer that tickled the bottom of the net, putting Indiana up by one. J.R. Smith, Jose Calderon and James all missed shots following that possession. Cleveland, however, got a chance while the clock ticked under five seconds. LeBron drove baseline and got whistled for stepping out of bounds.

James finished with 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. After the game, he tweeted about his mishap: “Definitely stepped out by a tiny bit after seeing it over again!” Great call. Needed to be in OKC on that drive. Lol. Live and you learn.” He, of course, was talking about the incident where Giannis Antetokounmpo stepped out of bounds before hammering home a game-winner over Russell Westbrook.

Kevin Love (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Jeff Green (13 points) where the only other Cavaliers to have decent nights statistically.

Darren Collison led the way for the Pacers with 22 points, and Oladipo wasn’t far behind with 19 despite a less-than-desirable 8-of-21 shooting clip. Stephenson had one of his best games of the year and finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Nightly Notables

  • Anthony Davis swallowed up the Portland Trail Blazers with a dominant outing that left him with 36 points and nine rebounds. It was the fourth game this season where Davis scored more than 35 while also shooting better than 65 percent from the field — that’s two more than the next closest guy.
  • Bismack Biyombo had a career night for the Orlando Magic and finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds. He set his career-high in the first half with 18. Unfortunately, the Magic weren’t able to secure the victory.
  • Bradley Beal, with 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting, ruined Biyombo’s night and led the Washington Wizards to their win over Orlando. Beal’s scoring average over the last six games has risen to 28.8 a night.

Scores

CLE 95 – 97 IND
ORL 119 – 125 WSH
UTA 88 – 99 CHA
BKN 110 – 105 ATL
POR 113 – 119 NOP
GSW 108 – 94 MIL
NYK 108 – 118 MIN
MEM 78 – DEN 87
HOU 112 – 95 PHX

Start a conversation with me on Twitter