Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The next time the Cavaliers will take the floor it will be with a whole lot more to play for.
Their final preseason tune-up for the 2012-13 season didn’t exactly give a ton of hope for what’s going to happen starting next week, as the Cavs were outplayed by the Indiana Pacers 100-82.
The Cavaliers wrap up the preseason with a mark of 3-4. The team shot just 37 percent in the loss. The big question heading into the game, and now into the season will be the starting lineup for Byron Scott, and his young team.
Tuesday vs the Pacers, Scott went with a couple rookies, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller. Waiters popped in 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Zeller was more impressive, scoring 13 points, hitting 5-of-8 shots, and also impressing on the defensive end of the floor with 7 rebounds, two assists and a block.
The Pacers outplayed the Cavs from an offensive standpoint, and getting better on defense for the Cavs is a key if this team is going to compete in the upcoming season.
“Some of our defensive principals we didn’t stick to them tonight, it led to open shots,” Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said. “I’m just glad preseason is over, now we have a week to get ready.”
Irving led the Cavs with 20 points in the loss. Alonzo Gee, who was the starter at the four, scored 18 points.
A couple key Cavs players didn’t do much, as Anderson Varejao was shutout in scoring with seven rebounds, and Tristian Thompson had four points, but got into foul trouble early and ended the night with five personals.
“I think a lot of guys struggled tonight,” Scott said. “We had a few bright spots, didn’t have many bright spots on the defensive end, that’s the key.”
The Pacers were led by David West, who had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Paul George, who added 14 points in the win. Indiana ends the preseason with a mark of 4-2.
The Cavs trailed 26-23 after one, with the highlight of the quarter a highlight film alleyoop from Irving to Gee. The Cavs shot 40 percent in the quarter, with Gee leading the way with 9.
Indiana took a six-point lead into the halftime locker room, outscoring the Cavs 25-22 in the second quarter to take a 51-45 halftime lead.
Danny Granger and West each had 9 for the Pacers, while Gee had 13 for the Cavs at the break.
The lead continued to grow for the Pacers in the third, as they outscored Cleveland 27-26 in the third to take a seven-point lead, 78-71 after three.
Gee and Irving each had 16 after three to lead the Cavs, while George had 14 for the Pacers.
The Cavs will have six days to get ready, and then will take the court for real when they battle the Washington Wizards at home in the opener on Tuesday, October 30th.