Posted on January 27, 2018, by Travis Pulver
After saying previously that he didn’t want to make any changes to his starting five, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue changed his mind. His logic, at the time, was sound. It was the same group that won 18 of 19 at one point and 13 in a row, so the problem wasn’t the personnel.
“I just didn’t want to,” Lue said (via Joe Vardon at Cleveland.com). “Looking at film and what we’re trying to do, it’s not the best thing right now.”
But after losing 11 of his last 15, Lue decided it was time to make a change heading into Friday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers. Jae Crowder would come off the bench and Tristan Thompson would be inserted into the starting lineup.
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Whether it was the lineup change or LeBron James recording his 63rd career triple-double. But the outcome was one of the Cavaliers needed and haven’t seen much of since Christmas—a win.
There were signs of life for the Cavs throughout the game. They got out to a strong start and took a 38-31 lead after the first quarter. They extend the lead with a solid effort in the second quarter to 13-points heading into halftime, 73-60.
Down by 17 heading into the fourth quarter, the Pacers tried to mount a comeback. But they were not able to make up the difference despite LeBron James committing six turnovers in the quarter. Thaddeus Young pulled them within five with a 21-foot jumper with 1:44 to go. But they couldn’t get any closer.
Victor Oladipo’s layup with three seconds left made the final score 115-108, Cleveland.
All five starters scored in double figures for both teams. LeBron James led the way for the Cavs with 26 points followed by J.R. Smith with 23. Isaiah Thomas chipped in 12 while Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson each had ten.
Love and Thompson also chipped in 13 and ten rebounds, but the highlight of the night was James and his triple-double—or his more dubious quadruple-double. Along with ten rebounds and 11 assists, he recorded a career-high 11 turnovers.
“It’s a four-interception game for a quarterback with a win,” James said when asked to assess his performance after the game (ESPN). “That’s what I think of it. I just made some bad decisions.”
His 11 turnovers are the most by one player in a single game this season.
Indiana had hoped to earn a season sweep of the Cavaliers. But despite a solid effort, they fell short. Victor Oladipo, who led the Pacers with 25-points, talked about missing out on the sweep after the game (ESPN):
“Those three games are in the past, obviously. You can’t judge yourself off the past. You’ve got to live in the moment. Today was a tough loss. We did some great things, especially in the second half, that we can carry over to tomorrow.”
The Pacers will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard when the Orlando Magic come to town Saturday night. Cleveland will have a day off before giving their new lineup another chance Sunday against the Detroit Pistons.