The Indiana Pacers (32-36) beat the Cavaliers (21-48) 111-102 on Monday evening in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards (32-37) lost 125-124 in Atlanta. After overtaking the Pacers on Saturday night in Indiana for the ninth seed, the teams have once against flip-flopped in the standings.
The win for the Pacers gives them a half-game lead over the Wizards and a three-game lead over the Chicago Bulls (29-39). However, the Pacers have a very tough stretch of games to end the season, including the 76ers on Tuesday and teams like the Bucks and Lakers.
"We have a lot of tough teams coming in, but I think it's a good challenge for us," Domantas Sabonis said post-game. "To go against these dominant teams and really see if we're actually competitive."
The Cavs only had eight players appear in the game, and were without Kevin Love, Darius Garland and Cedi Osman. The Pacers caught a break in the schedule, and with the Cavs having such vital players out. On the contrary, they let Collin Sexton score 25 points.
The win was something the Pacers desperately need.
"It's important every game matters. We're looking. We just saw that the Wizards lost," Sabonis said. "It all depends on us. We're trying to play better every game together, but also we want to play in the play-in game, and we can get home-court or get as high as we can in the standings."
While the Pacers let the Cavs stay in the game and even trailed by seven points at halftime, they asserted their dominance, winning the second half by 16 points.
Sabonis had another incredible game with 20 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists and Caris LeVert continued to play at a high level scoring 20 points and dishing out ten assists.
The Pacers resume action at home against the 76ers on Tuesday evening in Indiana.