Pacers use huge rally to defeat Cavs again

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2018

It's always an emotional game when we play Cleveland.

LeBron James isn't enjoying the view lately, watching the end of blowout losses from the Cleveland Cavaliers' bench. They hit 18 3-pointers, a season-high for 3s allowed by the Cavs. Consistency is huge, going from the Brooklyn game (an overtime win Monday night) to the Miami game and then to last night (when the Raptors destroyed the Cavs, producing 133 points, the most in club history in regulation).

Indeed, Stephenson - whom the Cavs could have signed last season to a 10-day contract after working him out in a midseason free agent minicamp - put up 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists off the bench.

But Cleveland apparently rediscovered its form overnight, as the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions dominated the first quarter on Friday.

LeBron James had a chance to be the hero but stepped out of bounds when he tried to drive the baseline around Darren Collision with 2.3 seconds to play.

Of course, they lost that 22-point lead, accounting for their biggest collapse of the season.

From DeMar DeRozan's franchise-defining 52-point game to the 20 third-quarter points Jonas Valanciunas posted - each produced against Milwaukee on different nights - there's been a handful of individual first-half highlights for the Raptors and the occasional low light. Just gotta find a way to get out of it. The 16-point margin of defeat equaled the club's largest of the season.

IN got a nice offensive boost from its bench to start the next frame, particularly veteran big man Al Jefferson. Jeff Green and Jae Crowder were the second- and third-leading scorers with 13 and 11 each, and Kevin Love, Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade were virtually non-existent.

"We've got to be better", Cavaliers Tyronn Lue was quoted on Friday by the ESPN as saying.

James was understandably frustrated, and he was caught on cameras in the first half of the game lashing out at his team-mates and assistant coach Phil Handy, after Pascal Siakam dunked with little resistance.

Playing without Myles Turner for a second straight game, the Pacers were able to withstand his absence this time around. The Raptors were missing two of their best players, and were facing a well rested Cavaliers team, who figured to be motivated, following a blow-out loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Sometimes, the Raptors have shown that they can get off to strong starts against a team like Cleveland but there have been times where they let the foot off the gas and the game gets away from them.

"Defensively everybody's on an island playing defense by themselves". His calf injury earlier in the year made him lose a month's worth of games.

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