Running thoughts: Pacers 106, Cavaliers 102

Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 106-102 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

  • Derrick Rose spoke at shootaround and admitted that he has a bone spur in his left ankle which may require surgery. Tristian Thompson is still experiencing soreness and did not play.
  • Strong start for the Pacers, jumping out to an 13-2 lead —  led by a pair of 3s from Darren Collison. The Pacers won at Cleveland back on Nov. 1, 124-107 … but the Cavs have won their last 13 games.
  • When LeBron James wants a bucket, he almost always gets it. Scored easily over Bogdanovic in the post and from beyond the arc.
  • Lance Stephenson checked in with two minutes to go in the first and it took less than a minute for there to be drama between him and LeBron. James attacked on Stephenson, who hit the floor and then favored his left leg. This came after Stephenson buried a mid-range jumper over LeBron. Head trainer Josh Corbeil took a look at it between quarters, but he remained in the game.
  • Early playing time for Damien Wilkins, who has had a limited role this season. He told me afterwards that he fully expected it because of the smaller lineups the Cavaliers play. T.J. Leaf also played a short stint.
  • We saw Cory Joseph score off a high-arching runner in the lane. Let’s call that “The San Antonio Floater,” which both he and George Hill learned from Tony Parker.
  • Lance’s passing game has been superb. Underrated across the league. He’s sent a great pass to Domanatas Sabonis several times where only Sabonis can get it — and Sabonis several times. That’s why bigs like doing pick-and-rolls with Lance.
  • Looked like Bojan Bogdanovic rolled his left ankle towards the end of the half on a Jae Crowder crossover. (He had a big ice bag on it in the locker room after the game.)
  • It was a half for the offense, both teams shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. The Pacers sank nine 3s, yet trailed by six. (They’re 10-2 this season when they make at least 10.) It was a balanced attack, too, as they had six players with six or more points. The Cavaliers got the better of them on the glass and in the paint (+12).
  • Third quarter was the best yet. The Pacers outscored the Cavaliers by nine points, getting 20 from Oladipo on 7-of-8 shooting. He had his way against J.R. Smith and demanded to bring up the ball each time, as he was in that kind of grove. 89-86 Pacers
  • Haven’t seen Domantas Sabonis this annoyed by officiating all year. In part, because he has been matched up against LeBron numerous times and been the one called for a foul.
  • Tired legs appear to be a factor. With 1:47 left, they’ve scored a combined 19 points.
  • Big-time trey from Oladipo from the right arc. After Cleveland called timeout, he turned to the crowd and gestured “This is my house” as he has done several times. He says he lets the fans say it.
  • He finished with a game-high 33 points — his fourth game this season with 30 or more points — eights rebounds, and five assists.
  • Oladipo said this was just another win. “We haven’t done anything. We just win games, take it one day at a time. It was just another game that we had to go out there and compete and win.”
  • Nate McMillan on Oladipo: “He’s still learning what he’s capable of doing. Tonight was an example of us putting the ball in his hands in the fourth quarter and late in the game, and then he has to make the reads — if he has an advantage. … He is now, I think for the first time, seeing the best defender each night.”
  • Easily the best atmosphere of the season. The 17,032 in attendance were loud all game long. Well done.
  • Myles Turner on this group: “It’s the best one I’ve had so far [in the pros]. Everybody’s energy is just incredible. I mean, there’s never really an off day. Someone’s always bringing the energy.”
  • Turner continues to be the league’s best rim protector, rejecting a shot for the 11th consecutive game. He now has a league-leading 47 blocks despite missing seven games due to a concussion.
  • Up next: The Pacers (106-102) continue their six-game homestand against 2012 Indiana Mr. Basketball Gary Harris and the Denver Nuggets (13-11).

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