The Lesanity continued in Cleveland. Well, for at least five extra minutes.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and guard Lester Hudson forced overtime against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night, but came up short, losing 104-98. It was a valiant effort by the Cavaliers, especially against a third-place team, but the Pacer starters outperformed the Cavaliers on a night they were missed star guard Darren Collison.
Danny Granger (23 points), David West (19 points), George Hill (17 points) and Roy Hibbert (11 points) all ended the night in double figures, proving once again their one of the NBA’s most complete team. Paul George, the Pacers fifth starter, also ended the night in double figures with 10 rebounds.
As little as the +/- rating really reflects the impact a player has on his team, all five Pacer starters had a + rating while they were on the court. Points in the paint, however, weren’t that easy to come by for the Pacers. The Cavs outscored the Pacers 56-42 in the paint, and that was without center Semih Erden for basically the whole game.
Erden was helped off the court by Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao after he injured his ankle in the second quarter. It didn’t look good at all. He was spotted in the locker room after the game with crutches. Good news is that the X-rays were negative. It’s not like Erden has been playing much, though. This was the first time he saw minutes off the bench since April 1 against the San Antonio Spurs.
Speaking of the bench, the Cavaliers bench played to their best ability Wednesday, outscoring the Pacers bench 45-28. Led by Lester Hudson, who again put on an amazing performance, the young bench showed why some of them deserve spots on it next season. Hudson scored 19 points and six rebounds, delivering the game-tying lay up with 1.2 seconds to go in the game. If this guy doesn’t have a job locked up with the Cavaliers for next season, he definitely deserves one.
Although Samardo Samuels has been really inconsistent this season, he has been playing with a chip on his shoulder the past couple games. Samuels scored 13 points and added five rebounds off the bench Wednesday. He shot almost lights-out, going 6-7 from the field.
Besides Hudson, Tristan Thompson played a big role in why the Cavaliers forced overtime against the Pacers. After air-balling a trey, Thompson grabbed Hudson’s flat shot and threw the hammer down while being fouled. He made the and one free throw, putting the Cavs in a position to extend the game five minutes.
But what the Cavaliers didn’t do well Wednesday was something that they haven’t really struggled with so far this season. Hudson was actually the worst on the team when it came to three-point shooting. Hudson went 1-9 from trey while the rest of the team went 2-12. 14.3 percent from three-point land isn’t something that Cleveland is accustomed to, but anything is possible without Kyrie Irving in the lineup.
That’s right Irving, including Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao, missed yet another game, bringing their total games missed to 21 games for Gibson, 10 for Irving and 31 for Andy. It’s been an injury-riddled season for the Cavaliers, so maybe it’s smart to keep these guys on the sideline for the rest of the season.
The Cavaliers will have Thursday off, but will be at it again against the Pacers on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
BREAKING: Moon Dog is okay after being poked in eye by Pacer’s forward David West. He will visit a veterinarian on Thursday.