Pacers hold Cavs to 23 points in second half
That’s what the Indiana Pacers kept telling themselves as they faced a 16-point deficit to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second quarter.
Don’t try to get it all back at one time because that’s not their style. Buckle down defensively, continue to push the ball for easy baskets in transition, be willing to make the extra pass in the halfcourt on offense and gradually chip away at the Cavaliers’ lead.
To think the Pacers would be able to maintain that mindset seemed almost laughable a few weeks ago. But knowing they’re at the point in the season in which they need to string together some victories to clear the .500 mark, the Pacers stayed together.
Their desire to not fold paid off, as the Pacers used an 18-0 run that stretched from late in the second quarter into the third quarter to come away with what turned out to be an easy victory, 96-81 Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“Our guys started getting a little frustrated (in the first half),” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “We felt like we were better than that. The answer to situations like that is to not get tighter, more frustrated. The answer is to stay calm and make mental adjustments and focus on each possession.”
The Pacers couldn’t defend the three-point shot — or guard C.J. Miles — in the first half. They locked in and made shooting miserable for the Cavaliers in the second half.
The Pacers held to Cavaliers to 19.5 percent shooting and 23 points in the final 24 minutes.
“We just had the mind frame that we had to take bits and pieces here and there,” Pacers forward David West said. “We did a good job closing the first half, getting the game within striking range going into the third quarter. And we carried things over into the second half.”
The Pacers (11-11) needed this victory. The days of making excuses about their play are no longer acceptable.
The time has come to make a run at putting some distance between them and a .500 record.
They’re in the midst of playing seven of 12 games at home.