Struggling Cavaliers fall to Pacers, drop fourth in a row
Every Pacers starter scored in double figures, with Thaddeus Young netting 26 points, Darren Collison adding 25 and Victor Oladipo pouring in 23 as Cleveland (3-5) suffered a fifth loss in six games, the past three by a combined 58 points.
“The other games we just got our butts kicked,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.
“Tonight, I thought we did some good things. We just couldn’t sustain it. But the other games we just flat out got our butts kicked. So seeing improvement.”
The Pacers had lost nine meetings in a row with the Cavs since March 2014 - four months before LeBron James returned from Miami to the Cavs.
“It’s just we have an opportunity to be very good and then you see some of the lulls that we have and it’s just very difficult on our team right now,” James said.
“We’re just trying to figure it out on the fly and unfortunately we don’t have time to practice a lot and do those things.”
James led Cleveland with 33 points and 11 assists but committed a game-high eight turnovers, while Derrick Rose added 19 points.
“We can’t sustain effort for 48 minutes,” James said. “They hit a few bombs at the end and the game got out of hand.”
Cavs center Tristan Thompson missed the second half with a left calf strain.
“Now Tristan went down again so we don’t know how long he’s going to be out,” James said.
“Our team is kind of depleted as well, both on and off the floor.” With an average age of 30, the Cavaliers have the NBA’s oldest roster.
James is the NBA’s sixth player with 400 regular-season games of at least 30 points, joining Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Ex-Cavs guard Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown each scored 22 points to power Boston over visiting Sacramento 113-86. The Celtics (6-2) won their sixth in a row while the Kings (1-7) lost their sixth in a row.
James Harden had 31 points and nine assists and Houston scored 16 consecutive points in the second quarter on the way to a 119-97 victory at New York.
Australia’s Ben Simmons had 19 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists to spark the Philadelphia 76ers over visiting Atlanta 119-109.