CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Indiana Pacers have a reputation for playing tough, gritty and downright physical.
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott warned his team before Monday night’s game with the Central Division leaders but they didn’t read the memo and paid the price as the Pacers ran the Cavaliers out of their own building and cruised to an easy 111-90 victory at Quicken Loans Arena.
Gerald Green led 5 Pacers in double figures by scoring 20 off the bench while Tyler Hansbrough, who started in place of the injured David West, added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers.
Scott sees Monday night’s defeat as more of a lesson than embarrassment.
“I’m not embarrassed,” Scott said. “I told our guys that we’re going to face that 8 more times in the next 10 games. To be honest with you this is going to be good for us. To go up against this type of intensity, to go up against playoff type teams 8 out of the next 10 times because this is how they’re going to come out.
“This is playoff type basketball and it’s something that our guys have to figure out and get used to.”
Indiana outscored Cleveland, who led by as many as 7 early in the first quarter, by 3 in the 1st, 12 in the 2nd and 10 more in the 3rd en route to a 25 point advantage heading to the final quarter.
C.J. Miles scored 21 while Tristan Thompson added 20 points and 10 rebounds in the loss for Cleveland.
“We got our [butt] kicked tonight,” Thompson said. “I definitely take that responsibility as not coming out to play and we got our [butt] kicked.
“We just didn’t come out with any fight and no life really so, especially at home, that’s not acceptable.”
The only sign of life from the Cavaliers came late in the 3rd quarter when Marreeese Speights was ejected for a flagrent-2 foul on Pacers forward Paul George. Speights essentially tackled George, who was driving to the basket, by grabbing him above the shoulders and throwing him to the floor.
“Anytime you grab around the neck in this league they’re going to pretty much eject you,” Scott said. “I’m old school, I didn’t think it was that bad.
“The foul was the correct thing to do but the way he did it wasn’t the smartest thing in the world to do.”
The Pacers rolled off a 9-2 run to open the 2nd quarter and went to the locker room up 60-45 thanks in part to 3 straight 3’s from Green as part of an 11-0 run that took 1:43 to complete.
Already playing without Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers went without Dion Waiters for the remaining 3 quarters with left knee soreness.
“Just soreness pain,” Waiters said. “I’ll find out [Tuesday] if it’s anything serious.
“It’s just been lingering the last couple of games and today it just wasn’t feeling right.”
Waiters, who finished with 4 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds in 12 minutes, will be evaluated Tuesday.