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Highlights: Cavs Defeat Pacers 98-93

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On the second night of their back to back double header, the Cavs went south to play the Indiana Pacers in the Cintas Center at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. The Cavs came out with the 98-93 win in a close game that was decided in the last minute. Here are the highlights for the Cavs victory over the pacers and their 4th consecutive win of the preseason:

From the beginning, the Cavs were struggled to pull away, as the Pacers exposed some of their defensive holes and forced 14 turnovers and on 12 steals.

LeBron James was having trouble with scoring in the last few games, and made up for it with tenacious defense and a passing mentality. After sitting out last night against the Milwaukee Bucks, LeBron finally found his groove tonight against the Pacers, scoring 26 points from 9-12 shooting in 24 minutes. He showed a true team player mentality with a game-best +18 point differential with him on the court. Oh, he also did this:

And this…

The surprise of the night was Anthony Varejao sitting out healthy with Coach Blatt opting to start Brendan Haywood and bring Tristan Thompson off the bench. This probably won’t happen much in the regular season; Blatt is most likely experimenting with different lineups and looking for rotations that click. After tonight, Blatt will definitely make more adjustments to stop the bleeding down low where the Cavs gave up too many opportunities due to their lack of size.

Matthew Delladedova played 30 minutes while going 6-9 from the field. His aggressive defense helped ease the mind of fans worried about his play through the first 3 games of the preseason. A.J. Price, who is starting to make people consider him as Kyrie Irving’s primary backup, picked up the slack tonight shooting 6-12 for 14 points in 21 minutes of action.

Despite tonights average performance, Coach David Blatt is definitely happy with the chemistry that his players have formed. LeBron James and Kevin Love have played very well together, burying any rumors that there may be concerns with the two sharing time on the court.

In the previous 2 preseason games, Love had found a nice niche for himself, shooting
74% from the field and 75% from behind the arc, averaging 25 PPG and 8 RPG. Tonight though, he had trouble in the paint against the Pacers bigs, going only 1-5 from the field in 17 minutes of playing time. His game was over after the first half, when he stayed in the locker room to deal with precautionary neck soreness. He will definitely bounce back, and will be able to transition against frontcourts not as daunting as the Pacers’. Despite Love’s troubles with the Pacer’s bigs, Tristan Thompson played in comfort, scoring 6 points and grabbing 9 rebounds while not committing a turnover.

The game tonight signified Pacers Forward David West’s return to his alma mater Xavier, where his play earned him the 2003 AP College Basketball Player of the Year Award. He went 7-18, scoring 15 points in the exhibition game. Another Xavier graduate in attendance was James Posey, the Northeast Ohio native who recently joined the Cavs’ coaching staff.

Coach Frank Vogel has had his hands full this preseason, trying to organize a Pacers roster that lost top scorers Lance Stephenson to Free Agency and Paul George to injury. The Pacers started Guards George Hill and Rodney Stuckey with Center Roy Hibbert and Forwards Solomon Hill and David West. While their roster has plenty of talent and leadership, playmaking ability and scoring will be a concern. Chris Copeland helped ease some of those concerns with a great game off the bench, finishing with 16 points on 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc. The Pacers will definitely be a contender in the weak east, and if tonight’s game was any indication, they will most likely end up with the 4th or 5th seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers next game will be against Shawn Marion’s former team: the Dallas Mavericks. This game takes place, October 17th, at the Q.

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