It was the second game in a row they held an opponent below 100, having clamped Orlando to 69 on Monday night.
The Indiana Pacers are more than familiar with facing the Cleveland Cavaliers when LeBron James rests, so they didn't get distracted by the four-time NBA MVP's absence Wednesday night. Even with Klay Thompson struggling for most of the night, the Warriors are going to win most games that turn into track meets. The Pacers were always maintaining and building a lead with him on the floor and for what it is worth, he finished the night with a +/- of +24.
It's too early to call any of these games make-or-break, but a lot of losses this early in the season could only compound this team's issues. The Indiana Pacers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-93.
In those two games, opponents averaged 81 points and shot 37 percent.
Love and Irving combined for 51 points, yet the Pacers held every other Cavalier under double figures.
"We had our chances", Love said. "He needed the rest so we're going to rest him". I'm a threat any time I step out onto the floor, so I feel like our coaching staff will put us in a great position to be great out there and I'll put myself in a great position. "I think, just overall, we got exhausted of looking embarrassed and getting our butt whupped".
X-Factor: Jeff Teague's 20 points and 8 assists kept the Pacers humming along smoothly.
The Cavs have done a better job managing James' minutes than any previous team (including Cleveland, before James left for the Heat), holding him to career lows in each of the last two seasons. "When I played, training camp was the full month of October, and we could do two-a-days the whole month of October".
Without LeBron James around, Kevin Love made a decision to take over on offense. I think the biggest thing is we need to remain who we've been here, and that's playing defense.
James has scored at least 24 points in eight of the last nine games against Indiana. Both scored at a rate higher than their season averages.
They responded with execution, toughness and defense. When Love burned them for an open 3-pointer, Pacers forward Thad Young got one of his own the following possession. When told by Myles Turner upon entering the locker room that James wasn't playing, Young recalled not being unhappy about it. That's why Paul George, who produced his first double-double of the season (21 points, 11 rebounds) despite a weather-induced cold and a slowly recovering sprained ankle, was feeling good afterward.
"He's a talented player", Teague of Irving.
Aaron Brooks had 9 points and 2 assists, but also deserves credit for making a few tough shots when the Cavaliers were fighting to get back in the game.
IN also protected it's lead for much of the night. F Paul George is the Pacers' leading scorer (21.0). IN built an early 15-9 lead on the back on an 11-0 run and the gap would reach 11 by the end of the first quarter.
Lue said the gradual decrease in minutes to get James' body prepared for the playoffs was mutually agreed upon by James, his personal trainer Mike Mancias and the coach. "Just execution and believing in the offense and continuing to move the basketball and continuing to get good shots". They said they would have liked for him to play, to measure themselves against the best, that sort of thing.
Plenty of work still remains for these Pacers as they continue meshing into the high-scoring, cohesive unit they desire to be.
"So whenever my team needs me, whatever my team needs me to do every single night - whether it's play 40 or play 26 minutes - you see it varies". And it might be the start this team is looking for. It's only one game that stands in contrast to several others.