Pindowns: Winless Cavs deep-sixed by Pacers

Author:
Publish date:

Forty-three random pindowns after the Cleveland Cavaliers' 119-107 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena...

1. For the first time in more than two decades -- 22 years, to be exact -- the Cavaliers are off to an 0-6 start. Last time it happened, back in 1995-96, The Q was in its third season, Los Del Rio's "Macarena" was No. 1 on Billboard's Top 40 chart and a certain Kid from Akron was in elementary school.

2. Give the Cavaliers credit... they talk a good game, but when it comes to actually playing one -- for all four quarters, anyway -- it's not happening.

3. Starting with Tristan Thompson's preseason bluster about the Cavs still being the team to beat as they are four-time defending Eastern Conference champions, through last night, when talk of "fight" and "effort" were once again heard postgame, well...

4. The cliche, "it's better to be seen than heard" would certainly apply here. The NBA, as are all sports at the professional level, is a results business. When words such as "fight" and "effort" are uttered, they almost always come from the locker room of the team that came up short on the scoreboard.

5. The second quarter had been Cleveland's big fly in the ointment previous to last night. Against the Pacers, KO'd by a Cavs squad that was led by the aforementioned KFA (Kid from Akron, for those whom may have slept through Pindown No. 1) in a first-round playoff series that went to a Game 7 last spring, the Cavs hung with the more-talented and more-athletic Pacers until midway through the third quarter.

6. At that point, a layup by the Pacers' KFI (Kid from Indiana), Victor Oladipo, pushed the visitors' advantage to 15 points on a driving layup and the outcome was all but decided.

7. Oladipo, who almost pushed the Pacers past KFA & Co. in that playoff series last spring, has not forgotten about that Game 7 loss, The Q or even the locker he uses while there, in fact.

8. “Every time I play here, I sit here in this same locker,” he said after scoring 24 points, one behind teammate Bojan Bogdanovic's game-high 25. “Every time I land in Cleveland, I think about it. I watched it all summer, probably about 75 times. It’s all I thought about." 9. Indiana improved to 4-2 on the season despite playing without the services of Tyreke Evans, who was held out of the game as a consequence for being late for a practice last week. The veteran shooting guard is averaging 12 points in his first five games with the Pacers. 10. Unlike the first two home games at The Q, when the Cavs' play had their fans heading for the exits quicker than (crap) through a goose, Cleveland did indeed show some of the aforementioned "fight" and "effort," coming out of a timeout called by coach Tyronn Lue and shaving Indiana's lead to five points going into the final quarter. 11. Even after watching his squad finish on the wrong side of the scoreboard for the sixth consecutive game, Lue professed he is not frustrated (obviously, he's not a season-ticket holder). 12. "I can't get frustrated," Lue told reporters after the game. "We were in the right position defensively. They made some tough shots but also being in, doing our coverages, getting steals out in transition. We gotta be better. When we have chances to get layups and open shots, with our margin for error being so slim, we've got to take advantage of it." 13. With five-time All-Star Kevin Love missing his second consecutive game because of a sore left foot, Lue turned to Sam Dekker to start at the four. At Detroit on Thursday night, he went with veteran Channing Frye. 14. Dekker, who finished with six points and five rebounds in 24 minutes, was no match for Indiana's Thaddeus Young, who bullied him on the block, scoring 10 points and handing out five assists. Young had five assists -- total -- in the Pacers' first five games this season.

15. Cavs starting center Tristan Thompson (six points, six rebounds in 22 minutes), pushed around by Andre Drummond of the Pistons (26 points, 22 boards) two nights previous, was tagged for 15 points by Pacers center Myles Turner, while Domantas Sabonis also scored 15, giving Indiana six players in double figures.

16. Turnovers were once again a problem for the Cavaliers, who coughed up the rock 18 times, leading to 30 points for the Pacers. Buoyed by their abundance of transition buckets, the visitors shot a blistering 65 percent (48 of 74) from the field, the fifth-best mark in franchise history.

17. “In the second half, we got stops when we needed to and really just wore them down,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan said. “We did a good job recognizing where we had matchups.”

18. Lue said Love, the Cavs' leading scorer and rebounder, wanted to answer the bell.

19. “He tried to play through it understanding we hadn’t won a game and we were struggling a little bit,” Lue said. “He wanted to be on the floor and try to make a difference. We applaud him for that. We just hope he can get healthy soon.” Wonder if Hue Jackson wants to get involved in the Cavs' play-calling?

20. Love's double-figure rebounding wasn't missed in this one as the Cavs actually outrebounded the bigger, stronger Pacers, 39-24. However, that is skewed because Indiana simply didn't miss many shots, accounting for its meager final number -- four -- on the offensive glass.

21.Rodney Hood reached double figures as he had in the first five games and led Cleveland with 17 points. Larry Nance Jr. chipped in with 15 points, a game-high 12 boards and tied for team honors with four assists off the bench.

22. Nance is leading the Cavaliers in assists this season, which prompted the talented (and whimsical) Jeff Phelps of FOX Sports Ohio to quips the postgame show, "The good thing is, Larry Nance leads the Cavaliers in assists. The bad thing is, Larry Nance leads the Cavaliers in assists."

23. Point guard George Hill (14), Jordan Clarkson (12), Collin Sexton (12) and Cedi Osman (10) also reached double figures for Cleveland.

24. Hood, Cleveland's starting shooting guard, doubled his season total for 3-pointers made after a 1-for-6 performance from deep. He did, however, shoot 7-of-9 from inside the arc, and added five rebounds, three assists and two steals in 29 minutes.

25. Sexton, the rookie out of Alabama, made only 2-of-8 shots he took, but shot 8-of-9 from the free-throw line to account for his dozen points. He matched Nance for team honors with four assists and he also received the first technical foul of his professional career for chopping away the hand of Indiana's Cory Joseph while jostling for position on an inbounds play.

26. “There’s going to be ups and downs,” Lue said of his first-year point guard's performance in 23 minutes. “I just don’t want him to get down on himself. He’s going to make mistakes and that’s just part of the game.” Led by Nance and Sexton, Cleveland's bench to outscored that of Indiana, 54-35.

27. Lue dusted off David Nwaba. The swingman finished with a modest stat line of seven points, one rebound and one block in 14 minutes, but his plus-minus, plus-13, was -- by far -- the best on the team.

28. While Nwaba was dusted off, Ante Zizic continues to gather cobwebs. The second-year big man, who had a courtside seat in Detroit (not getting off the bench) to watch Drummond and Blake Griffin (26 points, 10 rebounds) abuse his Cavs teammates in the paint, received only three garbage-time minutes from Lue against the Pacers.

29. Meanwhile, Osman's struggles continued. The second-year man shot only 4-of-13, including 2-of-8 from deep, and went scoreless in the second half, missing all five shots he took. He also committed a third of Cleveland's 18 turnovers all by his lonesome.

30. The fact poor Osman is being tasked with attempting to fill the titanic-sized shoes of the KFA, aka, The Best Player on the Planet, is a summation of where the Cavs presently stand... er, lie down.

31. The KFA, by the way, and his new bunch of guys he has to blame when things don't go well, dipped to 2-4 on the season after a 110-106 loss at San Antonio on Saturday night. But this is a Cavs-focused effort, so back to our regularly scheduled programming.

32. Cleveland's "efense" (with an opposite of "offense" as bad as has been displayed through six games, obviously, there's no D), is allowing 118.5 points per game, with it's offense is putting up only 105.8, meaning the Cavs are being outscored by an average of 12.7 points a night, the second-worst mark in the NBA, through their record is the worst (obviously).

33. Here are the shooting numbers for the Pacers' top seven players Saturday night -- Young (5-8), Bogdanovic (10-14), Turner (7-10), Oladipo (10-15), Sabonis (6-9), Joseph (3-4) and Darren Collison (5-8)-- which shows just how horrific Cleveland's "efense" was. The Cavs have now surrendered 102 or more points in all six games they've played this season.

34. Indiana bested Cleveland in points in the paint, 60-44, transition points, 20-6, and steals, 13-9, all of which provides evidence of the Pacers' dominance inside and to the consequences of Cleveland's 18 turnovers.

35. “Our margin for error is slim,” Lue repeated for the 3,189th time already this season (OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration). “It’s very slim.” Which could also be said for the Cavs' chances of winning... oh, never mind.

36. Incidentally, the last Cleveland squad to limp its way out of the gates to an 0-6 start, the aforementioned 1995-96 Cavs, lost their first seven games of the season.

37. Their current predecessors can match that mark of futility Tuesday night when the Atlanta Hawks come to town. By the way, Cleveland has not led at halftime, nor in the second half, in any of its six games this season. Dating back to last season, the Cavaliers have now lost 10 consecutive games.

38. By the way, those 1995-96 Cavaliers got off the canvas to win 47 games and reach the playoffs, where they were swept by the New York Knicks. Coached by Mike Fratello, that Cleveland team played with "effort" and "fight," allowing the fewest points in the NBA. These Cavs? Oh, never mind.

39. You may remember the Hawks]. They wet all over the Cavs' home-opener, to the tune of 133-111, on Oct. 21, setting a franchise record with 22 made threes along their merry way.

40. You can bet Sexton certainly does. The eighth overall pick in the draft was thoroughly outclassed by the fifth overall pick, Trae Young, who finished with 35 points, on 13-of-23 shooting, including 6-of-14 from deep, and handed out 11 assists in 38 did-you-see-that? minutes.

41. For those who subscribe to the it’s-still-early-there-are-76 games-yet to play refrain, the six losses already account for more than seven percent of Cleveland's 2018-19 season.

42. Not to worry, our main man, Sam Amico, will be back in The Big Chair to bring you all the details of that highly anticipated All Hallows Eve eve rematch from home-opener night.

43. That fact, alone, will make it a winning night... at least for those willing to tune in again after reading this.