Indiana Pacers Clinch a Spot in the NBA Playoffs by Defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers for a Second Time in Three Days
Two out of the first three matches this season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers have come down to overtime. The fourth and final regular season battle between these teams would not be quite as close. Both teams would start off slow, but Indiana heated up in the second half, and eventually took control of the 102-83 home victory.
The Pacers came out with very poor shooting early, missing their first eight shots from the floor. In the process of a 16-point first quarter, Indiana started the game hitting only two of their first 14 shots. The Cavs led 19-16 after the first quarter, and took a 13-point lead halfway through the second quarter. Indiana rallied before halftime, going on a 9-0 run, and cutting the lead to two points.
Indiana, who would clinch their second consecutive NBA Playoffs berth with a win, came out of the gate firing in the third quarter. The Cavs came out firing as well, but they were missing. Indiana outscored Cleveland 34-13 in the third, eventually taking a 21-point lead. Indiana had ten assists and only two turnovers in the third quarter.
The Pacers were highlighted by another good game from George Hill, who was making his third consecutive start, in place of injured point guard Darren Collison. Hill had 15 points and a season-high seven assists in the win. The Pacers were +19 in scoring differential when Hill was in the game. Indiana had six players score in double figures.
Indiana travels to Milwaukee on Saturday night, to play the Milwaukee Bucks for the second game of a back-to-back.