Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers: Postgame Grades and Analysis
The Pacers held the Cavaliers to 34.9 percent shooting and kept Kyrie Irving in check for most of the game. Indiana also out-rebounded Cleveland 51-37 and overcame 20 turnovers to secure the win.
The Pacers were playing without George Hill, who was sitting out with a sore left hip.
Indy, which shot 41.6 percent from the floor, is now 3-0.
The Cavs fell to 1-2 with the loss.
Note: Grades are based off of stats, efficiency, overall impact on both ends of the court and how the players performed when it mattered most.
Kyrie Irving never looked too comfortable in this game.
The star point guard posted 15 points, five assists and three rebounds and shot only 6-of-17 from the floor. He was defended very well by Indiana, but you have to wonder if the elbow that he injured against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night was bothering him.
He looked more tentative than usual, and he took some uncharacteristically poor shots.
He's Kyrie Irving, though. He'll bounce back.
With George Hill nursing a sore left hip, C.J. Watson got the start against Cleveland.
He did a fine job, tallying seven points, six assists and four rebounds in 31 minutes. He also played some fine defense on Irving.
Watson didn't shoot the ball particularly well (2-of-8), but he ran the offense smoothly and did not turn the ball over. That's about all you could ask out of your normal backup point guard.
Dion Waiters was able to rack up 17 points in this one, but he didn't exactly do it very efficiently.
The second-year guard out of Syracuse shot 7-of-21 from the floor, showing very little inclination to pass throughout (as evidenced by his zero assists).
Despite that, Waiters somehow ended up with a plus-three plus/minus, and in a game where your team loses by 15, that's pretty darn impressive.
He was able to come up with four steals, as well, so he deserves some credit for his defense.
Still, regardless of his positive plus/minus and his thefts, the lack of efficiency costs Waiters quite a bit in the grade book.
Through three quarters of play, Lance Stephenson had nine points. Then the fourth period came.
Stephenson erupted over the final 12 minutes, recording 13 points and nailing four threes. It wasn't like any of the triples were forced, either. They were all good, clean looks.
The Cincinnati product finished with a game-high 22 points off 7-of-13 shooting (5-of-7 from beyond the arc). He also posted five rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes of floor time.
Stephenson quelled any chance of a Cavaliers comeback in the fourth quarter, and for that, he deserves high marks.
Earl Clark was solid on the boards during his 16 minutes of action, pulling down seven rebounds, but other than that, his impact was minimal. He scored only two points and did not make a single field goal. That was about all Clark contributed on Saturday night.
Great night for Paul George.
The forward was extremely aggressive, slicing through the lane consistently and throwing down three dunks as a result. He also drilled three triples, all of them coming during the third quarter where he scored 13 of his 21 points.
George also pounded the glass, hauling in 13 rebounds to give him his first double-double of the season. He did make a couple of sloppy passes that have become typical of George, but he was so good otherwise that those mistakes ended up negligible in the grand scheme of things.
George shot a solid 8-of-17 from the floor, 3-of-6 from deep.
This wasn't a good outing by Tristan Thompson at all.
The forward scored only two points off 1-of-5 shooting, clanking a few jumpers and looking out of sorts offensively. He also grabbed only four rebounds in 35 minutes.
There isn't much else to say other than the fact that Thompson was pretty bad against Indy.
This wasn't one of David West's better nights. He got into some foul trouble after picking up a couple of personals in the third quarter, which gave him four for the game.
Not only that, but West did not give the Pacers too much when he was on the floor. He scored only four points off 2-of-7 shooting, and his impact on the glass was rather limited in his 25 minutes of action (three rebounds).
Fortunately for West, the rest of the Indiana starters picked him up.
Anderson Varejao started out well, scoring eight points in the first quarter by drilling three mid-range jumpers and giving Roy Hibbert some difficulty by pulling him out to the perimeter.
He was relatively quiet the rest of the way, though, registering only six points over the final three quarters.
However, Varejao did an admirable job against the bigger Hibbert, using his craftiness to disrupt Hibbert's motions in the post.
Varejao finished with 14 points, six rebounds and three steals in 29 minutes. He shot 6-of-9 from the floor.
This was an all right game for Hibbert.
The big man scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds, using his size and bulk to take advantage of the lighter Varejao inside. However, Hibbert had the ball slapped away from him a couple of times in the post, and he ended up turning it over four times. It also seemed like he spent more time on the ground than he spent upright. I counted at least five or six times where Hibbert hit the deck with minimal contact.
That being said, there is no denying the type of impact Hibbert has defensively. The center blocked two shots and altered several others throughout the contest.
The Georgetown product shot 5-of-9 from the field in the win.
Jarrett Jack scored eight points off 4-of-8 shooting in 24 minutes off the bench. Under normal circumstances, you'd consider that a decent game for a sixth man, but we're used to much better from Jack. He never really got into the flow, and six of his eight points came when the contest was essentially already decided.
Jack also recorded three assists and two steals, but this wasn't a typical Jack performance.
Luis Scola was merely OK in the 19 minutes he logged.
The Argentinian scored four points on 2-of-6 shooting and pulled down three rebounds. He also turned the ball over three times, an awful lot, considering the amount of time he actually spent on the court.
The forward has certainly had better days.
To put it bluntly, this was a rather ugly performance from the Cavs bench.
C.J. Miles scored eight points and put Orlando Johnson on a poster, but he shot only 2-of-9 from the field and 0-of-5 from distance.
Tyler Zeller was decent, scoring six points and grabbing three boards, but Anthony Bennett looked lost and Alonzo Gee picked up four fouls in 18 minutes.
Not a very good effort from the reserves.
P.S. Andrew Bynum rested Saturday night.
I really liked what Ian Mahinmi brought to the table in this one, hauling in seven rebounds (four of them being offensive) in just 19 minutes of action. Orlando Johnson also gave Indy a nice lift, tallying seven points and six boards in 21 minutes and registering a plus-15.
Donald Sloan and Solomon Hill both scored four, and Rasual Butler hit a triple in garbage time.
Unlike Cleveland's pine, the Pacers reserves were pretty good.