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Indiana Pacers: Haliburton's heroics lead the Pacers to victory over Cleveland
The Indiana Pacers remain undefeated this season after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers. The final score was 125-113. Haliburton's heroics helped seal the win.
The Indiana Pacers remain undefeated this season after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers. The final score was 125-113.
This game was up and down. The starters did not play their best, but there remains a common theme through the two games. The team starts slow. Maybe that was exaggerated tonight with Tyrese Haliburton battling an illness, but it is true nonetheless.
Aaron Nesmith had a career night and was the best Pacer in this game from start to finish. Tyrese closed the game for Indiana, but Nesmith kept the team in the game to begin with. Hopefully, Indiana can allow Nesmith to play an expanded role this season. He scored a career-high 26 points and nine rebounds on 10/16 shooting from the field. Nine of those were three-point attempts, and he made 5 of those in this game — all of which were needed.
He has also been one of the team’s better defenders and was in the game to close it out. The lineup included Turner, Haliburton, Nembhard, and Nesmith — which is whom Rick Carlisle feels are the team’s better defenders. Haliburton will close games no matter what.
Nesmith brings intensity to the team’s second unit and allows Carlisle flexibility in late-game situations. To me, he has Most Improved Player potential for the team this season. An impressive string of games.
Pacers vs Cavs Game Recap
The Indiana Pacers start slow in Cleveland, as the starting unit could not get any offense, outside of Bennedict Mathurin and Myles Turner. Rick Carlisle was forced to turn to the bench unit early to spark some offensive momentum.
Fortunately, this worked, thanks to some good early minutes from Aaron Nesmith and Jalen Smith. Smith continues to be impressive in the backup center position. He provided 13 points and 6 rebounds tonight and has earned the job behind Myles Turner. Personally, it is good that Indiana has their center rotation set, and there is no controversy about what level of performance they will get from that spot. Smith has been consistent thus far.
Tyrese Haliburton stayed on the floor with this unit. However, Haliburton was questionable in this game with an illness, and his on-court play was less aggressive to start the game.
Indiana took control for much of the second quarter and was led in scoring by Aaron Nesmith. Nesmith scored 10 points in the first quarter to help cut the Cavaliers lead to just six points. He then had 15 points in just 11 minutes of play — an impressive first stretch of the game.
Indiana’s biggest problem to deal with in the first half was Caris LeVert. He could not miss. After the first half, he had 25 points and was the fuel to the Cavaliers’ offense. They were without a few key players. Darius Garland, Jarett Allen, and Donovan Mitchell are among those out.
Myles Turner struggled offensively but was pretty good at staying active on the glass. He had 9 points and 7 rebounds at halftime. He is not a stranger to making his presence felt in the paint. He finished with a double-double, scoring 20 points and 12 rebounds. Turner wants to be an All-Star, and although he started slow, the numbers don’t lie.
The Pacers would take a lead into halftime, going up 60-49.
Cleveland made an effort to climb back into the game in the 3rd quarter, and at this point, Haliburton was struggling to find an offensive rhythm. Haliburton had 10 points on 3/11 shooting from the field.
TJ McConnell got some run to close the quarter to help the Pacers again some energy that they had lost. McConnell added 6 points and 6 assists to the stat sheet. McConnell finished the game with 8 points and 8 assists in 18 minutes. He has been consistently efficient in his minutes.
The Cavs won the third quarter and cut the Pacers lead to 91-87. Caris LeVert and Evan Mobley had a combined 52 points up to now. Cleveland had the momentum.
For the momentum the Cavs were able to build, Indiana took the punches and handled them well to start the quarter. Aaron Nesmith and Buddy Hield hit a few threes to give the Pacers some breathing room early. They have been great for Indiana, and the second unit should get much praise for keeping them in the game.
However, it remained a single-digit lead for the Pacers.
Heroics from Haliburton helped extend the lead for Indiana. He made three straight three-point shots. Here are the highlights of his three consecutive makes in the 4th quarter. This after a quiet night offensively — of course, he came alive in the 4th. It wasn’t just his shooting. He also helped find other teammates for open shots.
Indiana ran away with the lead in the final minutes and never looked back. The Pacers beat the Cavaliers 125-113. An All-Star finish from the face of the (undefeated) Indiana Pacers.
Looking ahead to Indiana’s next matchup
Next, Indiana will face the Chicago Bulls in Indiana on Monday night. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM EST. Chicago is 1-2 on the season and is coming off a loss to the Detroit Pistons tonight.
Chicago’s only win was by a margin of one point came in overtime against the Toronto Raptors.
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