Talked out: Cavs drop 4th straight day after team meeting
By STEVE HERRICK, Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — There’s not much more for the Cleveland Cavaliers to talk about.
A day after a clear-the-air team meeting, LeBron James and his teammates didn’t get any better.
Thaddeus Young scored 26 points, Darren Collison had 25 and the Indiana Pacers sent Cleveland to its fourth straight loss, 124-107 on Wednesday night.
James had 33 points and 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough to keep Cleveland from losing for the fifth time in six games and falling to 3-5.
James was upbeat following Sunday’s 19-point loss to New York and pointed out it was still October. He was in a far less positive mood Wednesday, saying three times, “It’s a new month.”
The Cavaliers held a lengthy meeting before Tuesday’s practice to discuss their struggles, but the defending Eastern Conference champions have lost by a combined margin of 58 points in their losing streak.
“A lot of teams are playing well right now,” James said. “We’re not. That’s just a simple fact.”
The Cavaliers still have issues to work out, especially on the defensive end. Cleveland led 69-68 in the third quarter, but Indiana hit four straight 3-pointers and built an eight-point lead.
Indiana was 16 of 26 from 3-point range. Cleveland had allowed the second most 3-pointers in the league going into the game.
Victor Oladipo scored 23 points for the Pacers. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17, and Domantas Sabonis had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Cleveland has battled injuries since training camp and was hit with another when forward Tristan Thompson left in the second quarter with a strained left calf. He exited the arena on crutches.
The Cavaliers haven’t looked like the team that has been in three straight NBA Finals since winning their first two games.
“No one’s going to feel sorry for us,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “We’ve got to do it ourselves.”
Indiana showed little effect from playing the second end of a back-to-back. The Pacers rolled past Sacramento 101-83 on Tuesday and led for most of the first half.
“It’s a big win for this young team,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “We knew Cleveland would come out with a sense of urgency after losing their last three.”
Lance Stephenson was assessed a flagrant one in the second quarter for hitting James in the groin area as the four-time MVP drove to the basket.
James spent several seconds on the baseline hunched over in pain before walking to the bench while the officials looked at the replay. James made both free throws, sparking an 11-0 run.
Derrick Rose had 19 points while Kevin Love had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
James tied a season high with eight turnovers.
“That’s way too many,” he said. “I’ve been in the three or four range, but when you double that, that’s not a good ingredient for your team to be successful.”
Each of Indiana’s five starters scored in double figures and combined for 106 points.
“That’s what we’re doing, winning games by committee,” Young said. “We’re moving the ball and trusting each other. I love playing with this team.”
James will likely reach two personal milestones Friday against Washington. He’s eight points away from becoming the seventh player with 29,000 in his career. James can also extend his streak of double-figure scoring games to 800. The last time he didn’t score 10 in a regular-season game was Jan. 5, 2007 in Milwaukee, where he had eight.
Pacers: Bogdanovic took a knee to the head from Dwyane Wade, who was leaping trying to block his shot in the fourth quarter, but stayed in the game. … C Myles Turner worked out before the game, but remains in the concussion protocol.
Cavaliers: Thompson had eight rebounds and two points in 14 minutes. He had one point, no rebounds and four fouls in 19 minutes Sunday. … G Iman Shumpert (sore right knee) has missed the last two games.
Pacers: Visit Philadelphia on Friday night. Indiana has won 12 of the last 14 in the series.
Cavaliers: Visit Washington on Friday night.
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