Indiana Pacers: Takeaways from statement win over the Cavs

Aaron Nesmith, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Aaron Nesmith, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers(19-17) defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers(22-14) at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Thursday night.

The Pacers are rising faster than Buddy Hield’s first 3 pointer tonight (if that’s even possible).  With another exciting matchup with the Cavaliers in the books, the Pacers have improved to 19-17 on the season and are within 3 games of a top 3 seed as of today.  The Cavaliers were still hanging onto the lead late in the 4th quarter until Aaaron Nesmith slammed home a game changing dunk to take the lead for good. The amount of team chemistry and lethal shooting was too much for the Cavaliers to handle in the end, as several Pacers had strong games to help the team even the series 1-1 against the Cavs this season.

Here are some takeaways from tonight’s big win!

1. Impressive scoring effort

The Pacers played like an offensive juggernaut in this one, with 4(!) players scoring 20 points or more(Haliburton 29, Hield 25, Mathurin 23, Nesmith 22). Not only were players scoring in bunches, but doing so effeciently, as the team shot 56% from the field and a sizzling 61% from 3 point range! With a defense that is so highly touted amongst the NBA, most notably for the imposing twin towers of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, it was a treat to see the Pacers drop 135 points on a team like the Cavs, and adds another signature win to a season full of surprises from this  pesky Pacers squad.

2. Rebounding continues to be an issue

While the Pacers certainly played well in order to secure the victory Friday night, rebounding continues to be a problem for this team. The Pacers got outrebounded 32-46 against the Cavs, and have now been outrebounded 117-142 in their past 3 games. Not exactly the sort of statistics to be proud of, but to give some credit to the Pacers, they do run a very small starting lineup, starting essentially 4 guards and a big in Myles Turner. Without too much size on their bench either, the Pacer may want to think about trading for some muscle in the frontcourt to help with their lackluster rebounding problem. That is, if the Pacers decide they want to make a postseason push this year, speaking of which…

3. Pacers built to win now?

Now before anyone jumps to conclusions, no, I am not saying the Pacers are aiming to win a Larry O’Brien this year. However, the Pacers recent stretch of play has to have you wondering if they are not so far away as we think.  In their past 5 games, the Pacers are 4-1, with wins over quality opponents such as the Heat, Hawks, Cavaliers, and Celtics, and are shooting the lights out while doing so, with today’s 61% from deep yet another display of the sustained marksmanship from the team. For a team that was projected to be in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes this year, the Pacers are proving everyone wrong and are actually winning a lot of games, enough to sit 6th in the East right now. With a smart free agent signing or two to put around a core of Haliburton, Mathurin, Turner, Nesmith, Duarte, and Nembhard, the Pacers could be looking to impose their will as a threat to the East as soon as next season!

The Indiana Pacers will continue their homestand Saturday, New Year’s eve, against the Los-Angeles Clippers.

Next. Scouting Report of the Mad Ants. dark