2 positives, 2 negatives from Indiana Pacers win vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Tyrese Haliburton
Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Tyrese Haliburton /
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Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Caris LeVert
Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Caris LeVert /

Negative: Defensive approach still needs work

Of course, with every positive, there are usually some negatives, too, and tonight’s negative has seemed to be the negative of the past few years.

While the Pacers have good defenders, most notably Myles Turner and newcomer Bruce Brown, they have often struggled on the defensive end as of late, and so far into the season, it has almost cost them early on.

In the Washington Wizards game, it was Tyus Jones and Danilo Gallinari. Tonight, it was Caris LeVert and Evan Mobley. LeVert was especially a thorn in the side of Indiana’s defense, at least in the first quarter, as he scored 21 points on 9/12 from the field and 4/5 from behind the line.

In addition to getting to the rim and finishing over subpar defense, LeVert was shooting the lights out on the perimeter, taking whatever defensive strategy the Pacers had, and throwing it right back in Rick Carlisle’s face, as he even got an and-one three-pointer to fall.

Eventually, LeVert did cool down from the field, slowing to a crawl in the second quarter, and only putting up six points on 2/11 from the field in the second half, a perfect representation of the usual Caris LeVert inconsistencies that have hampered him all throughout his career.

While LeVert did cool down from the field eventually, two guys who stepped up in his place were Evan Mobley and Max Strus. Mobley especially took over the scoring load, putting up 33 points on 12/23 shooting in the game and giving Myles Turner all sorts of trouble in the process.

While Turner did have some fantastic defensive plays, including a pair of blocks, he struggled at times defending Mobley, who had a fantastic performance despite the eventual loss.

This may not be a huge concern, as the Indiana Pacers eventually tightened up their defense following the first-quarter barrage and played great D in the final stretches of the game, but it is still something to think about.

The Pacers are going for a playoff spot this year, and they are eventually going to play teams that they cannot afford to have lackadaisical defensive quarters against.

For example, if the Cavaliers played Garland, Mitchell, and Allen, Indiana could not afford that subpar defensive first quarter, as they would need to worry about two more perimeter scoring threats and one paint scoring threat, which would make Myles Turner’s job harder.

While this may not have been an awful defensive performance by any means, it still leaves Pacers fans with something to think about going into Monday’s matchup against the Bulls and especially for Wednesday’s matchup against the offensive powerhouse Boston Celtics.