Cavs number crunch: Aggression, pace push Cavs past Game 4 finish line

Wine and gold ride transition, free throws to win

Alex Hooper
April 23, 2018 - 12:05 am
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots the ball while Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison (2) and forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) defend in the second half of game four.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports


The Cleveland Cavaliers did not do much well in Game 4 of their first round series against the Indiana Pacers, but luckily, neither did their adversaries.

There was still much to criticize about Tyronn Lue’s team, not to mention the ways in which the head coach utilized his roster. Though, one of the main aspects of the game Lue preaches was what carried the Cavaliers back to Cleveland even at two games apiece.

Aggression. Playing with pace.

The wine and gold pushed the ball in transition on 19.8% of their possessions, scoring 150 points per 100 possession on the break, placing them in the 85th and 79th percentiles in each regard. By doing so, the Cavs aided themselves heavily on the way to a 15-of-22 night at the rim.

The Cavaliers drew four shooting fouls at the rim, three in the mid-range, and one from beyond the arc. Of their 26 trips to the charity stripe, the victors made 22. Their 27.3% free-throw rate (free throws made divided by field goal attempts) placed them in the 84th percentile.

Cleveland outscored Indiana, 17-to-7, in fastbreak points.

Defensively, the Cavs failed to hold the Pacers under 100 for the first time in the series, with the home team landing exactly on the century mark. The defense at the rim was much improved, holding Indiana to 20-of-31 at point blank (64.5%), the Pacers’ worst mark of the series.

A glaring weakness for the defending East champs was allowing 12 offensive rebounds, 29.1% of Pacer possessions, to a team that was 14th in the NBA in oREB%. The Cavaliers ranked 13th in basketball in oREB% allowed.

Kevin Love was again a near non-factor for the Cavaliers, shooting 2-for-10 from the field and only getting to the line once, splitting a pair. He was visibly frustrated at times, as he has struggled to establish himself against Indiana’s Thaddeus Young, who has muscled Love off of the block for most of the series.

Young scored 12 and grabbed 16 rebounds in 39 minutes, despite grabbing just 12.6% of defensive rebound attempts in 2017-18, 9th percentile in the NBA.