Conclusions of the victory of the Cleveland Cavaliers on the Indiana Pacers 118-112

the cleveland cavaliers surpassed the Indiana Pacers 35-18 in the fourth to earn a 118-112 victory.

The theatrics of Donovan Mitchell’s jump ball turned the game around.

Cleveland looked lethargic through the first three quarters. The defense that had been in a tear the last ten games was a slow pace. They were forgoing the dribbles while also delivering open looks from beyond the goal. The offense also seemed aimless off of Mitchell.

That changed early in the fourth. With the Cavs trailing 98-86 with just over 10 minutes to play, Mitchell fouled Bennedict Mathurin in an attempt to force a jump ball. Mitchell refused to release the ball, leading to a minor skirmish that energized the crowd and his teammates.

The moment also seemed to light a fire under Mitchell. He was unstoppable from there as he outscored the Pacers himself 16-14 to close out the game.

Mitchell almost single-handedly pulled off a win in a game the Cavs didn’t have to be close to. He finished the night with 41 points on 14-24 shooting, which included 8-15 from beyond the arc, with 3 assists and a rebound.

Great players often find strange ways to motivate themselves and their teammates. Mitchell’s extra effort did that tonight for Cleveland.

The Cavs dominated clutch time.

The Cavs have struggled to close out games at various points. That was not the case tonight as Cleveland outscored Indiana 32-16 in the last ten minutes and 9-2 in the last five.

The defense struggled to keep Indiana away from the rim (22-31, 70.9%) and from taking 3-pointers (11-35, 31.4%). The Cavs were able to turn up the intensity and effort in the final minutes to cut through the efficient looks at the rim and from deep.

The tightening of the defense accompanied by extraordinary shots from Mitchell allowed the Cavs to overcome the obstacle.

The offense away from Mitchell hasn’t been great yet.

The Cavs came into this game with the worst offensive rating in the league in their last ten games (108.7). This includes going under 100 points three times despite Mitchell averaging 27.5 points on .503/.439/943 during that time frame.

Not being able to reliably hit outside shots is one of the main reasons this is the case. Including tonight, the Cavaliers not named Mitchell are hitting just 28.3% of their outside appearance in the last eleven contests. This includes the team hitting the 6-16 from beyond the arc excluding Mitchell tonight.

Darius Garland was able to knock down 2-4 outside looks tonight, but the grouping of him, Kevin Love and Cedi Osman are individually hitting under 32% of their 3-pointers during this stretch. It’s very difficult for an offense that plays slow and relies heavily on non-shooting defensive early forwards to get ahead if this group isn’t consistently hitting from deep.

Mitchell’s 41 points tonight covered up a lot of the problems with an offense that can get bogged down at times.

Caris LeVert looked good with the main four.

LeVert was around throughout the entire fourth quarter while playing a supporting role in the comeback. He was a team high +17 on the night as he contributed 6 points and 5 boards in the final frame.

Cleveland made its career with Garland, Mitchell, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and LeVert together. His auxiliary playmaking and his ability to be an outlet on offense helped keep the flow going on a night when Lamar Stevens didn’t get the best material from him.

Finding a fifth man to accompany the main four has been a balancing act. This has forced JB Bickerstaff to roll hot-handed down the stretch in many games like he did tonight with LeVert.

LeVert has had a hard time adjusting to playing alongside Garland and Mitchell together. That said, he’s still the fifth-best healthy player on the roster. They desperately need to continue to find ways to make him comfortable within that five-man unit.

Until next time: The Cavs face the dallas mavericks for the second time this week on a Saturday night. The notice is at 8 pm

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