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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Game 77: Cavs at Pacers

Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Radio/TV: WMMS (100.7 FM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: Horrible. Just horrible. Certainly, it couldn't have happened again? But it did. The Cavs blew a 20-point lead, 88-68, with 9:04 to play against Indiana on Tuesday.

Let's make a list.

The following are the biggest leads blown by the Cavs this season:
27 points: 98-95 Miami on March 20
26 points: 107-105 Phoenix on Nov. 9
22 points: 102-97 New York on March 4
20 points: 99-94 Indiana on April 9

These are the things that get coaches fired. I'm not saying Byron Scott is going to get fired or needs to be fired. These are the things management brings up at the end of the year when they do their evaluations.

The Pacers outscored the Cavs in the fourth quarter, 35-10. Oh my.

In that pivotal quarter, the Cavs shot 20 percent from the field (4 of 20). Only Kyrie Irving and Omri Casspi made field goals in that quarter. Irving led all scorers with 29 points and seven assists.

However, he committed eight of the Cavs' 17 turnovers.  That's ridiculous in a closely contested game like this. 

The Cavs snapped a two-game winning streak. They should be riding a three-game winning streak heading into their game vs. Detroit on Wednesday.

They had just four players in double figures. Center Tyler Zeller, who returned to his home state of Indiana, was very good with 18 points, three rebounds and two blocks. He fouled out, as did valuable guard Shaun Livingston.

Zeller outplayed Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who had just eight points, five rebounds and three blocks. Hibbert has really beat up on the Cavs this year, too. His length causes problems.

The Cavs really defended well, as they held the Pacers to 40.5 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from the 3-point line.

The Pacers have the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They'll face Atlanta in the first round. The Pacers are a better team, but that won't be an easy series. The Hawks aren't going away easily.

The Cavs have played very hard in the last three games. Whether it's enough to save Scott's job is not known.

That facet of their game has been missing for much of the season. They should mimic the Pacers as much as possible. They play the right way, which is a feather in the cap of Coach Frank Vogel. Of course, he wasn't around for the whole game. He got tossed with 2:05 left in the third.

Lead assistant Brian Shaw closed out the win for Indiana, which has now won six in a row over the Cavs, as well as six consecutive games at the Fieldhouse.

The Pacers are going to run away with the Central Division title. They have a 5 1/2-game lead on Chicago.

Irving is expected to play on Wednesday vs. Detroit.

Swingman C.J. Miles (concussion) and power forward Luke Walton (sprained ankle) didn't make the trip to Indiana. Neither is expected to play on Wednesday, either.

The status of guard Dion Waiters (sore left knee) remains unclear. He looks like he's ready to play any time now. The Cavs are being very vague about his injury. He did go on the trip and was active for the Pacers game. 

LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated Orlando on Sunday, 91-85.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Detroit at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Paul George (6-9, 215)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. David West (6-9, 250)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Roy Hibbert (7-2, 280)
SG Wayne Ellington (6-4, 200) vs. Lance Stephenson (6-5, 228)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. George Hill (6-0, 180)
Cavs - C Anderson Varejao, G/F C.J. Miles 
Pacers - F Danny Granger, F Miles Plumlee 
Ron Garretson, Derrick Collins, James Williams


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