Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Like a broken record that plays over and over, so goes watching the Cavaliers play.
They hang in and compete for about a half, then in the second half let the opponent go off on a run, and try to play catchup the rest of the way to no avail.
That was the storyline once again Friday night, as the Indiana Pacers for the second time in a nine days week beat the Cavs 99-89.
Andy Varajeo missed his second straight game for the Cavs, and Roy Hibbert took advantage of it for the Pacers, as the Indiana big man put in a game-high 18 points and six rebounds.
The two teams went back and forth with 11 lead changes in the first half, as the Cavs wound up leading at the half 45-44.
The third quarter was the difference, much like earlier in the week against the Raptors for the Cavs. The Pacers outscored the Cavs 33-22 to take the game over.
All five Pacer starters had double-digits in scoring, with Hibbert leading the way. Guard Lance Stephenson had 16 for Indiana.
The Pacers took over inside in the second half, outscoring the Cavaliers in the paint in the second half 38-20. They had 20 second chance points, and 12 points off fast breaks.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 17 points, five assists and six turnovers. Tristan Thompson had a double-double, with 12 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.
The Cavs defense suffered in the second half, as Indiana shot 59 percent in the second half in field goals. They also outrebounded the Cavs 44-35.
Cleveland has lost 16 straight to Central Division opponents.
The Cavaliers will look for success on the road Saturday night as they head to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks.