3 positives, 2 negatives in Pacers In-Season Tournament win vs. Cavaliers

Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers /
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Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers /

Positive: Improved Defense

Finally, a game where defense wasn’t the most glaring issue. Games like these are hard to come by, considering the fact that the Pacers had the worst defense in the NBA coming into this game.

Tonight was a bit of a relief, as the Pacers not only held the Cavaliers to 8/28 shooting from three (28.6%) but also had some highlight-worthy defensive plays, such as a thunderous Jalen Smith chasedown block on Isaac Okoro.

While this defense was more or less nonexistent in the third quarter, it remained in the fourth, as while the Pacers only recorded two steals and two blocks in the fourth, they were easily the most important steals and blocks of the game.

Haliburton and Nesmith’s steals helped stop any huge Cavaliers scoring runs and ultimately swayed the game back into the Pacers’ favor. As for the blocks, we will talk about that in short order, but just know that they were extremely impactful as well.

All in all, Indiana’s defense was much more disciplined and sturdy than the previous game, as they looked like a team that didn’t want 155 points dropped on their heads again.

If the Pacers keep the upcoming teams to three-point shooting like this, they should have no problem taking home the NBA Cup and cruising to a playoff appearance.