Early on it certainly didn't look like the Pacers would be carrying that victorious momentum into their upcoming road trip.
There were plenty of other plays down the stretch that shaped the outcome, most notably Victor Oladipo's 3-pointer that gave the Pacers the lead for good with 2:10 left, but Lance's unnerving of James is the headline.
"We're a veteran team and we know what we're capable of, and it can't be so easy for us to get in those lulls and not try to dig ourselves out of them", Cavaliers forward Kevin Love told ESPN prior to the Toronto loss. The team was without Thomas to start the season and he just came back last week. LeBron James had a great opportunity to get his team the lead back with only Pacers guard Darren Collison in front of him, but he was caught stepping on the baseline as he was making his way to the basket. They've lost seven of their last 10 games, and are now sporting the NBA's second worst defense.
Cameroon's Joel Embiid added 16 points and Aussie Ben Simmons chipped in 15 for Philadelphia and for a time it looked as if the eighth regular-season National Basketball Association game to be played in London could see the 76ers on the right side of the kind of blowout that fans there saw a year ago, when the Denver Nuggets trounced the Indiana Pacers 140-112.
The win moves the Pacers to 3-0 against Cleveland this year, and keeps IN in the 8th slot IN the East a conference so jumbled that the Pacers are just 2.5 games out of 4th, and 4 games behind Cleveland for the 3 seed. The Pacers had just 3 turnovers after halftime and didn't allow a single point off turnovers.
James was also slapped with a technical foul after losing his cool and retaliating against Stephenson with 7:53 left in the game. DeRozan had just two points in the first half. They caught me on the retaliation. "But he played well tonight". His 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting (81.8%) while handing out two assists and grabbing a pair of steals.
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Domantas Sabonis scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, but got eaten alive in the pick and roll at times.
Oladipo once again provided the late-game heroics.
The Pacers would erase that huge lead eventually.
Neither team made a field goal the rest of the way, with IN finishing the game on an 8-0 run.
No Kyle Lowry and no Serge Ibaka, and the Toronto Raptors still bludgeoned the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were listless and hadn't played since Minnesota crushed them on Monday. We just have to find our way to get out of it. "Luckily, he stepped out of bounds".
The Pacers are a fascinating team this season.
Defense has been a glaring issue for Cleveland all season, but the team's offense has endured significant struggles throughout the season as well.