Cleveland Cavaliers – 93
Indiana Pacers – 103
The Cleveland Cavaliers were without LeBron James. And J.R. Smith. They were on the road. On the second night of a back-to-back. They hung tough and never let the Pacers get too comfortable, but in the end, they didn’t have enough to pull out the win.
Kevin Love scored 27 points and pulled in 16 rebounds. Kyrie Irving added 24 points and seven assists, but no one else managed to score in double-digits for the depleted Cavaliers.
Ty Lue went deep into the bench tonight, with DeAndre Liggins (27 minutes), Jordan McRae (23 minutes), Kay Felder (13 minutes), and Chris Andersen (6 minutes) playing major roles. This seems to be a focus for Lue of late, as McRae has averaged more than 15 minutes per game the last three contests, including heavy play in crunch time. Liggins’ heavy workload was a bit of a surprise, as he had only played 90 seconds in the last three games combined. Coach Lue seems to be making an effort to go deeper into his bench and let those players get a feel for close games.
With this loss, the Cavs fall to 9-2, but still sit atop the Eastern Conference. Let’s look at some numbers behind the box score:
4th-and-long – As in, the Cavs punted this one. They trotted out a Felder-McRae-Shumpert-Frye-Andersen lineup in the first quarter. THE FIRST QUARTER. Kyrie playing just 31 minutes and Love 33 in a close game was a sign that even when keeping things close, the Cavs weren’t going to risk anyone’s health chasing a mid-week November win.
-12 – The Cavs’ NetRtg with LeBron off the court coming into tonight. This is compared to +13 when he is on the court. While this one turned out to be a ten-point loss, it was encouraging the Cavs played the Pacers close most of the game when factoring in how much was going against them tonight.
40.3 percent – The percent of the Cavalier’s shots coming from three-point range this season. Up from 35.2 percent last year. Chicks dig the long ball.
7 – The number of games this season that Tristan Thompson has scored under five points. His USG% is down to 7.9 percent from 11.7 percent last season. Of course, when those two points look like this, no one is going to complain.
34 percent – The share of Kyrie’s shots coming from mid-range. Up from 29 percent last year. Interestingly enough, he’s taking a similar share of shots at the rim and from three, but is sacrificing shots in the paint but outside the restricted area in favor of longer mid-range shots. He shot at an elite level last season, making those mid-range shots easier to swallow.
This year, they are dropping at a lower rate. This is hurting his efficiency, as is FTr has dropped to .181 from .264 for his career. Of course, if it keeps him upright and on the court, I don’t think anyone will mind.
The Cavaliers’ next game is home vs the Pistons on Friday, November 18th. The last time these two teams squared off, the Cavs were sweeping Detroit out of the first round of the NBA playoffs.