NBA: Cavaliers’ top-rated defense clamps down on reeling Pacers

Darius Garland Cavaliers NBA

FILE – Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after scoring during the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on January 16, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Pelicans 113-110. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP

Darius Garland scored 24 points to lead all five starters in double figures as the Cleveland Cavaliers used a dominant second quarter to beat the Indiana Pacers 122-103 on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Isaac Okoro had a season-high 20 points and Donovan Mitchell added 19 for Cleveland, which has won two straight for the first time since early January. Jarrett Allen tallied 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Evan Mobley had 17 points and 10 boards.

Indiana lost for the 12th time in its last 14 games despite a strong outing from Myles Turner, who had 27 points and 10 rebounds. Buddy Hield scored 16 points, and Tyrese Haliburton finished with 15 points and 11 assists.

Ricky Rubio had seven points and nine assists for Cleveland, which led by as many as 26 in the fourth quarter and beat the Pacers for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.

The Cavaliers closed the first half on a 26-9 run and held a 16-point advantage at the break. Mitchell scored nine points during the pivotal stretch.

Indiana outscored Cleveland 38-36 in the third quarter but still trailed by 14 entering the final period.

T.J. McConnell scored early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 98-86 before Cleveland responded with an 11-3 run to squash the Pacers’ comeback hopes.

The Cavaliers shot 52.3 percent from the field and 15 of 37 (40.5 percent) from 3-point range.

Garland and Allen combined for 13 points in the first quarter to help put Cleveland ahead 27-25. The Cavaliers trailed by one midway through the second period before Okoro’s trey sparked a 13-3 run.

Mitchell hit a 3-pointer to close the half and give Cleveland a 62-46 advantage at the break. Garland had 14 points in the half to lead all scorers.

Facing the NBA’s top defensive team, Indiana shot 43.5 percent from the field and 8 of 32 (25 percent) from 3-point range.

Cleveland played without guard Caris LeVert, who missed his second straight game due to right hamstring soreness.


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