Running thoughts: Pacers 124, Cavaliers 107

Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 124-107 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

  • Entering their first matchup of the season, the Pacers have lost seven straight regular season games at The Q.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic opening the game on LeBron. What could go wrong? … 10 seconds into the game, LeBron scored on a layup (and missed the free throw).
  • Bogdanovic, though, was 4 for 4 with 10 points in the opening quarter.
  • I don’t like the way Lance Stephenson is playing to start the second period. Loudly clapping his hands begging for the ball and upset when he doesn’t get it. Then, it looks like teammates are trying to make it up to him and forced passes on upcoming possessions, which resulted in two turnovers and a missed shot.
  • Myles Turner, still sidelined with a concussion, is the first Pacer off the bench to celebrate any big bucket or play. He and Thad Young were voted team captains. Good to see.
  • Trying to swipe the ball away from LeBron, Lance Stephenson hit the wrong package. Curiously, the officials went to the monitors and then deemed it to be worthy of a Flagrant-1 foul. I have a feeling Stephenson will appeal that one.
  • As Quinn Buckner said on the TV broadcast, that appeared to be a flagrant foul handed out because of Stephenson’s reputation and history with James.
  • The Cavaliers then went on an 11-0 run; so in 90 seconds, the Pacers went from up by nine to trailing by two.
  • Tristan Thompson went to the bench clutching his left calf. He suffered a calf strain and was ruled out for the second half.
  • The NBA’s new stats system still has some bugs. It’s 62-61 Pacers at the half, but I’ve seen different scores and player stats on several different websites.
  • Like many on this roster, Sabonis is such a good, willing passer. A crafty player.
  • Victor Oladipo’s shooting, especially from beyond the arc, has impressed. A 34.9 percent career 3-point shooter, he’s shooting better than 47 percent from deep this season.
  • Pacers hit 10-plus 3s for the fifth straight game. 16 in all, outscoring the Cavs by 27 from range.
  • Sabonis locked up his fifth double-double in six games before the fourth quarter and finished with 15 and 12.
  • Not sure exactly what it is — probably being a consistent, level player — but I don’t write or highlight Thad Young enough. He’s just solid.
  • Speaking of Thad, he buried a 3-pointer in the first minutes of the fourth quarter to give the Pacers’ their largest lead to that point, 10. 97-87. And he finished with a season-high 26 points.
  • It’s obvious how they miss Myles Turner the most: his rim protection. They yielded 58 points in the paint, and starting center Tristan Thompson had only two points.
  • They still have plenty of work to do on their defense. The Cavaliers shot 50 percent from the field, led by 33 points from LeBron. The Pacers countered it with a better, more complete offense. 35 assists, 10 above their team goal, on 49 field goals. And … they shot 62 percent and outscored the Cavaliers by 27 points (!!!) from 3-point land.
  • Collison and Oladipo took over late. What an outstanding second half for Oladipo, who scored 20 of his 23 points over the final two quarters. Collison joined Young and Oladipo with 20-plus points, contributing a season-high 25 points and eight assists.
  • It’s their first win at The Q since Jan. 5, 2014. It also snaps a 10-game losing streak on the second night of back-to-backs. They now have three (of 14) back-to-backs out of the way.
  • McMillan: “I thought these guys believed. … We had to fight. That’s a big, physical team. Our guys scrapped and once we forced misses we were able to get to our tempo.”
  • The Pacers, winners of three straight, improved to 5-3. The Cavaliers have lost four in a row and are 3-5.
  • No, I’m not worried about the Cavaliers. It’s the first day of November. They are the team to beat in the East with LeBron, until another team proves otherwise.
  • Up next: the Pacers have Thursday off. They play in Philadelphia Friday night and then conclude a three-game road trip Sunday in New York.

[Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

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