Basketball

Struggling Cavaliers fall to Pacers, drop fourth in a row

Friday, November 03, 2017

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LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — A Cleveland Cavaliers line-up struggling to come together and sustain effort for a full game suffered its fourth-consecutive NBA loss on Wednesday night, falling 124-107 to visiting Indiana.

Every Pacers starter scored in double figures, with Thaddeus Young netting 26 points, Darren Collison adding 25, and Victor Oladipo pouring in 23 as Cleveland (3-5) suffered a fifth loss in six games — the past three by a combined 58 points.

“The other games we just got our butts kicked,” Cavaliers Coach Tyronn Lue said. “Tonight, I thought we did some good things. We just couldn't sustain it. But the other games we just flat out got our butts kicked. So seeing improvement.”

The Pacers had lost nine meetings in a row with the Cavs since March 2014 — four months before LeBron James returned from Miami to the Cavs.

“It's just we have an opportunity to be very good and then you see some of the lulls that we have, and it's just very difficult on our team right now,” James said.

“We're just trying to figure it out on the fly and unfortunately we don't have time to practice a lot and do those things.”

James led Cleveland with 33 points and 11 assists but committed a game-high eight turnovers, while Derrick Rose added 19 points.

“We can't sustain effort for 48 minutes,” James said. “They hit a few bombs at the end and the game got out of hand.”

Cavs center Tristan Thompson missed the second half with a left calf strain.

“Now Tristan went down again so we don't know how long he's going to be out,” James said. “Our team is kind of depleted as well, both on and off the floor.”

With an average age of 30, the Cavaliers have the NBA's oldest roster.

James is the NBA's sixth player with 400 regular-season games of at least 30 points, joining Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Ex-Cavs guard Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown each scored 22 points to power Boston over visiting Sacramento 113-86. The Celtics (6-2) won their sixth in a row, while the Kings (1-7) lost their sixth in a row.

James Harden had 31 points and nine assists, and Houston scored 16 consecutive points in the second quarter on the way to a 119-97 victory at New York.

Australia's Ben Simmons had 19 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists to spark the Philadelphia 76ers over visiting Atlanta 119-109.

It was the Sixers' third-consecutive win and the seventh-consecutive loss for the Hawks (1-7). The 76ers reached 4-4, the first time they have been at .500 since November 11, 2013.

Frenchman Rudy Gobert sank an equalising dunk to force overtime, and Spaniard Ricky Rubio scored seven of his team-high 30 points in the last 75 seconds to lift the Jazz over visiting Portland 112-103.

Malik Monk scored 25 points, 18 in the fourth quarter, to power the Charlotte Hornets over visiting Milwaukee 126-121. Khris Middleton scored a career-high 43 points in a losing cause, while Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA's leading scorer, fought foul trouble and finished with 14 points for the Bucks.

Evan Fournier had 22 points as visiting Orlando held off Memphis 101-99. Aaron Gordon, who had 19 points, made a three-pointer with 51 seconds remaining to put the Magic ahead to stay.

T J Warren scored a career-high 40 points on 16-of-22 shooting to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 122-116 victory at Washington, while Jimmy Butler scored 23 points and Andrew Wiggins added 18 as Minnesota won 104-98 at New Orleans.

Jamal Murray scored 24 points, while Nikola Jokic added 16 rebounds and 10 assists to power Denver over visiting Toronto 129-111.

Miami's Hassan Whiteside, back from an opening-night knee bruise, had 13 points and 14 rebounds in the Heat's 97-91 home triumph over Chicago.

Blake Griffin scored 20 points and Austin Rivers added 19 to lead the Los Angeles Clippers over visiting Dallas 119-98.

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