All-Star guard Darius Garland scored a career-high 41 points and dished out 13 assists to propel the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers to a hard-fought 127-124 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.
His two free throws with 14 seconds remaining handed the Cavs a 126-124 lead they never relinquished. He scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. Cleveland got a key block by Lamar Stevens and a steal by Dean Wade down the stretch.
Rookie Evan Mobley, making the start at center with Jarrett Allen sidelined with a fractured finger, added 22 points, 12 rebounds and five steals.
Forward Lauri Markkanen tallied 21 points for the Cavs, who have won two in a row and completed a four-game season sweep of the Pacers.
Guard Tyrese Haliburton fired in 25 points and had nine assists for the Pacers, who have lost 12 of their last 15 games. Indiana had eight players in double figures. Goga Bitadze added 15 points and nine rebounds, and Jalen Smith and Duane Washington Jr. also scored 15 points each.
Mobley’s tip-in with 33 seconds left tied the score at 124.
Indiana closed the third quarter on a 14-6 run to grab a 98-90 advantage entering the fourth quarter. Haliburton had 23 points through three quarters. Garland had 20 points and 12 assists after the third quarter.
Cleveland authored an 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter to claw back in the game and assume a 99-98 lead after Garland’s two free throws with 10:08 remaining.
Guard Duane Washington Jr. erupted for 14 of his game-high 15 points in the second quarter for Indiana, which outscored Cleveland 39-31 in the period.
Haliburton’s driving layup with 22.8 seconds remaining in the second quarter knotted the score at 63, which is the way the first half ended.
Seven-footers Mobley and Markkanen each had 14 points for the Cavs.
Love’s layup with about 3 minutes left in the first quarter expanded the Cavs’ lead to 24-12. That sparked a 10-2 run by the Pacers, capped by Bitadze’s 3-pointer, to pull to within 26-22.
Cleveland recovered, though, and used Markkanen’s 10 points for a 32-24 advantage after one quarter. Guard Chris Duarte had six points for the Pacers.
The Cavs were playing without Allen, who fractured his left middle finger and will be sidelined indefinitely. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he’s not sure Allen will return by the end of the season.
The Cavs welcomed back veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, who had missed five games with a sprained big toe. He tallied four assists and two rebounds in 11 minutes.
–Field Level Media