Four observations from the Cavs' 123-115 loss to the Pacers

The Cavaliers have lost 10-straight games

James Rapien
January 08, 2019 - 11:00 pm
Jan 8, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) drives between Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) and guard Collin Sexton (right) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Cavaliers lost their 10th game in a row on Tuesday night, falling to the Indiana Pacers 123-115. Here are four postgame observations: 

Not Another Injury – Larry Nance Jr. left the game midway through the first quarter with a right knee injury after colliding with Thaddeus Young. Nance will travel to New Orleans with the team to be re-evaluated. It's a good sign that he's traveling, but Nance has had knee issues during his career. The last thing this team needs is another injury. They don't have the depth to withstand it. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood and David Nwaba are just a few of the many Cavs who have missed significant time. This team needs Nance's leadership and his versatility, especially since they're struggling. He's averaging 9.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this season.  

Confidence Returns – The Cavaliers had to be the least confident team in the league going into tonight's game. They had lost nine-straight, they were dealing with injuries and even Delly paused when I asked about their confidence, before saying “I don’t know. We’ll see tonight.”

They got off to a rough start, falling behind 38-16 at the end of the first quarter. It looked like the Pacers were going to win by a million. The lead grew to 26 and Indiana had a 63-43 lead at halftime. Instead of throwing in the towel and giving up, the Cavaliers responded in the second half.

The Cavs outscored the Pacers 72-60 in the final two quarters. They had energy and played with swagger. They were fun to watch. A half like that will do wonders for a young team. Alec Burks was great, finishing with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Jordan 'I get buckets' Clarkson was him normal self, leading the Cavs with 26 points off the bench. Even Cameron Payne got in on the action, scoring 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. He signed a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers on Monday and had an impressive debut. Nights like this help young players gain confidence, even if they didn't get the win.

'TT' is Back – Thompson had his best game since returning from a sprained foot. He finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. He was a double-double machine prior to his injury. The Cavs are going to need this play to continue on their road trip, especially if they hope to break this losing streak. 

Go Ahead and Review – The NBA is reviewing the Cavs' signing and release of Patrick McCaw. The team signed him to an offer sheet on December 28 and released him on January 6. They moved on from McCaw because they needed another point guard with Dellavedova dealing with an ankle injury. Delly suffered the injury after he was signed. They released him so they could sign Payne to a 10-day contract. McCaw wasn't overly impressive in the three games he played in Cleveland. Instead of guaranteeing his contract for the rest of the season, which would've happened at 5pm on January 7, they released McCaw to give themselves financial flexibility. It's hard to imagine how the NBA would find wrongdoing on the Cavs end. They did it for basketball and financial reasons.

Other Cavs Notes:

Collin Sexton finished 5-of-8 from the field with 14 points and four assists. Sexton found Thompson for an alley-oop in the final minutes of the game. It was a great play by the rookie, who's showing signs of development. Sexton was also talking to Payne throughout the game to make sure he knew where to be and what play to run. That's a good sign for the Cavs' first round pick. The Alabama Crimson Tide lost on Monday night, so he had to do a postgame interview in Clemson gear. Watch the alley-oop and the postgame video below.

The Cavs play in New Orleans on Wednesday night against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.