What We Learned: Cavs vs Pacers

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After an amazing win the night before, the Cavs traveled to Indianapolis to face the Pacers without LeBron and Kyrie. After how exciting Thursday night’s win was, some of the wind was taken out of the sails Friday night by the Pacers. Here’s what we learned from the loss.

Matthew Dellavedova shouldn’t take 18 shots in a game. I like the intensity and hustle Delly brings on a nightly basis, but I don’t like when he shoots 18 times a game. That isn’t his role in the offense no matter who’s missing from the lineup. Basketball is about knowing your role. A player is no longer effective when he steps outside of his role and tries to do too much. Tonight just wasn’t his night shooting.

The Cavs aren’t a good offensive team without LeBron and Kyrie. We knew it would be a struggle playing without these two. The offense is built around them. We knew somebody like J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert needed to have a huge game for the Cavs to win. Unfortunately they didn’t. The Cavs only shoot 35% from the field. There is no excuse for any team shooting that low of a percentage from the field. They also committed 15 turnovers. 35% shooting and 15 turnovers are nearly impossible to overcome.

Kevin Love can struggle when he has to carry the offense. He’s shown us he can carry the offense with both LeBron and Kyrie out earlier this year and he did it consistently in Minnesota. He just didn’t do it Saturday night against the Pacers. He finished with 17/10 on 6 of 19 shooting. Most of his struggles came from behind the 3 point line where he was 1 for 7. Those aren’t the numbers the Cavs needed from him to get the win against Indiana.

It wasn’t the Cavs defense fault. The defense had a solid overall game. Timofey Mozgov and Kendrick Perkins did a good job of defending Roy Hibbert tonight. Kevin Love also had a decent game on the defensive end of the floor. He held West to only 12 points which is good compared to the last time these two went at it. Overall the Cavs defense did well. They held the Pacers to 43% shooting. Those aren’t dominating numbers, but those are numbers that can win you games.

Cleveland still needs to drive to the basket when LeBron and Kyrie aren’t playing. The Cavs started a lineup comprised of jump shooters on Friday night. We want jump shooters on the floor when LeBron and Kyrie are out there, but they need to be able to adjust when they aren’t. Cleveland settled for 29 three pointers and were only able to get to the foul line 14 times. Those two numbers shouldn’t have that big of a disparity between them.

Sitting LeBron was the right move. I know the Cavs didn’t come away with a win, but it was still the right move to rest him. We saw how much a couple nights off benefited LBJ. I believe the Cavs should continue to rest him in back to back game situations. There’s no point of jeopardizing the playoffs for a regular season game against the Pacers. I expect LeBron to be back on Sunday for the game against Houston.

Player of the Game: Rodney Stuckey (19/4/5)

The Cavs will be back in action Sunday against the Rockets.

Jackson Flickinger

pic credit Cleveland.com

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