NBA: Cavaliers’ highest-rated defense holds back the spinning Pacers

Darius Garland Cavaliers NBA

FILE – Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after scoring in the fourth round against the New Orleans Pelicans at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on January 16, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers beat the Pelicans 113-110. Image Jason Miller/Getty/AFP

Darius Garland scored 24 points to lead all five starts by double as the Cleveland Cavaliers used the dominant second half to beat the Indiana Pacers 122-103 Sunday in Indianapolis.

Isaac Okoro had a top 20 of the season and Donovan Mitchell added 19 for Cleveland, who won two in a row for the first time since early January. Jarrett Allen scored 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Evan Mobley had 17 points and 10 goals.

Indiana has lost for the 12th time in its last 14 games despite Myles Turner, who has 27 points and 10 rebounds. Buddy Hield scored 16 points, while Tyrese Haliburton finished with 15 points and 11 assists.

Ricky Rubio had seven points and nine assists for Cleveland, leading with 26 points in the fourth quarter and beating the Pacers for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.

The Cavaliers closed the first half with a score of 26-9 and held a 16-point advantage after the break. Mitchell scored nine points in the critical period.

Indiana overcame Cleveland 38-36 in the third quarter but still trailed 14 points into the final stages.

TJ McConnell scored early in the fourth half to shorten the deficit to 98–86 before Cleveland responded with an 11–3 scoreline to quell the Pacers’ hopes of a comeback.

The Cavaliers shot 52.3% from the field and 15 of 37 (40.5%) from three points.

Garland and Allen combined 13 points in the first quarter to help give Cleveland a 27-25 lead. The Cavaliers took a one-goal lead midway through the second half before Okoro’s trey scored 13-3.

Mitchell hit a 3-pointer to close the first half and give Cleveland a 62-46 lead at halftime. Garland had 14 points in the half to lead all scorers.

Facing the top defensive team in the NBA, Indiana shot 43.5% from the field and 8/32 (25%) from 3-point.

Cleveland played without protection from Caris LeVert, who missed the game for the second straight game due to pain in his right hamstring.


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