'They just outplayed us': Cavs' second-quarter surge propels them to 19-point win over Pacers: Running Thoughts
Rick Carlisle saw it coming, saying this before the Cavs beat the Pacers 122-103: "The key for us in this game is to keep them from scoring 122 a game."
Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 122-103 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
This is the final game of a three-game homestand for the Pacers, who snapped a four-game losing skid on Friday against Sacramento. Team owner Herb Simon attended all three games.
At 3:01 p.m. ET, minutes after the Pacers completed their pre-game walkthrough, news broke of a significant trade: Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and multiple draft picks. It was interesting to see and hear the shock of several players and coaches as I informed them during individual shooting.
Talent is critical, but I’m not sure why any team would bother with Irving for more than a minimum or non-guaranteed deal. Culture matters and he’s left Cleveland, Boston and now Brooklyn worse than he before he arrived.
Chris Duarte (sore left ankle) was a late scratch, announced just as the team took the floor for pre-game warmups. And him not playing last game was a coach’s decision, head coach Rick Carlisle said pregame. He wasn’t listed on the injury report.
After the game, Carlisle explained that Duarte’s left ankle still isn’t right. It bothered him Saturday during a workout and then again before the game so he was ruled out.
Carlisle: “We’re hoping this was a short-term thing. He has been making gradual, steady progress. To my knowledge, not a long-term thing and hopefully a day-to-day thing.”
Former Pacer Caris LeVert is out due to right hamstring soreness. However, he looked good during an individual workout session of about 20 minutes — and it was during the team’s pregame meeting. He sat out their previous game.
Rev It Up!: Boomer, the Pacers’ mascot, and eight mascot friends joining him to celebrate his birthday at the game. That included Blaze (Trail Blazers), Burnie (Heat), Gorilla (Suns), Rocky (Nuggets), Mad Ant, Freddy Fever, little Freddy and little Boomer.
Duarte wasn’t on the court for team introductions or pre-game handshake routines with the starters.
With the trade deadline on Thursday, this is a strange and uncomfortable week in the league for everybody. Any time any player is out, like LeVert and Duarte tonight, the first thought is to wonder whether it is potentially related to a trade.
Carlisle: “We’ll try our best to help our guys get through this. With Myles’ situation resolved with his contract and stuff like that, this is not what it would’ve been had that not been taken care of.”