Two weeks ago the Indiana Pacers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Miami Heat after leading nearly the entire game. Since then, they’ve made sure to finish each game with some gusto, which has led to a five-game win streak, all by 10-plus points.
On New Years Eve, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended 2013 by becoming the Pacers fifth victim. But there was one point where it appeared the Cavaliers were going to put an end to the Pacers current winning streak, especially after leading 44-41 at halftime. For the Pacers, they simply couldn’t buy a bucket. At halftime the Pacers were shooting 41 percent. Then, in typical Pacers fashion, their shots started dropping in the second half and they shot 52 percent, closing the gap to one at the end of the third.
But in the fourth quarter it was the Cavaliers who were left praying for a bucket. Roy Hibbert anchored a Pacers’ defense that held Cleveland to 10 points on 19 percent shooting. The Pacers went on to win 91-76. It was the fourth game out of the last five that the Pacers have not allowed their opponent to score 90-plus points and the first time in those five games that they failed to score 100-plus points.
Paul George once again led the team with a game-high 21 points, eight rebounds and two assists and Hibbert scored 19 points, while blocking five shots. The Pacers shot 44 percent from the field, which is good, expect when you see they went 5-of-25 from three-point range.
The main reason for the Cavaliers collapse was their poor shooting in the fourth quarter. But when you look at their overall shooting, you get a better picture of how the entire game unfolded for them. They shot 36 percent from the field, including 1-of-12 (eight percent) from three-point range. Anderson Varejao led the team with 14 points and Kyrie Irving was held to 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Something obviously clicked with this Pacers team after their loss to the Heat. Whether it was the return of Danny Granger or adding another chip to their shoulder by being snubbed on Christmas Day, they appear to be clicking as a complete unit, which has to scare a lot of teams.