Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/22

Game 1: Saturday, December 22nd
Game 2: Friday, February 22nd
Game 3: Monday, April 8th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 16th

Cavaliers 111

(28-49, 9-29 away)

Pacers 99

(37-40, 22-16 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    7:00 PM ET, April 8, 2002

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    CLE 17 31 25 38111
    IND 24 29 22 2499

    Top Performers

    Cle: R. Davis 32 Pts, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Ind: J. O'Neal 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Blk

    Pacers fall 1½ games out of final playoff spot

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana's young team is still learning what it takes to make a playoff run -- defend, block out and finish.

    The Pacers didn't do any of those things Monday night against Cleveland, and again it proved costly.

    Ricky Davis

    Ricky Davis came off the bench to score a game-high 32 points and the Cavaliers' defense allowed just five baskets in the final 18 minutes as they ended a seven-game road losing streak with a 111-99 victory.

    "We did a lot of positives," Cleveland coach John Lucas said. "I don't think Indiana lost tonight, I think they got beat."

    Even coach Isiah Thomas would find that tough to disagree with.

    One night after falling out of the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, Thomas expected a better performance from his team.

    Instead, he saw more of the same as the Pacers' playoff hopes took another big hit.

    Indiana blew a double-digit lead for the 10th time this season.

    The Pacers were outrebounded badly for the second night in a row.

    Without Ron Artest, who did not play because of a sore left heel, they had no answers for Davis, who made 12 of 15 shots in 30 minutes and scored 19 in the fourth quarter.

    And when Indiana desperately needed a basket to stay close, they couldn't get that either.

    "You're not getting an opportunity to score when you're not getting rebounds," point guard Jamaal Tinsley said. "We're down on ourselves. If we did the little things, we wouldn't be right here."

    If those things don't change, the Pacers could be in even worse shape quickly.

    Indiana has lost three straight and seven of nine to fall 1 games behind Toronto for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

    The Raptors, who have won all three games in the series, and Pacers face off for the final time this season Wednesday night in a game that could well determine Indiana's fate.

    "If we lose Wednesday, whoa, that's the biggest game of the season so far," center Brad Miller said. "It's going to take my grandma going to church for a while to get us in."

    For the Pacers, it has became a familiar story.

    Indiana led by 12 points midway through the third quarter, but the Cavaliers wiped that out with a defensive effort that yielded only five baskets the rest of the way.

    The other part of the equation was Davis, who finished three points short of a season high. Davis has scored at least 20 points in five of his last six games.

    "I just got a lot of good easy baskets," Davis said. "I was just feeling it, the basket looked real big."

    Early in the third quarter, though, it appeared as if Indiana would coast. The Pacers -- and Reggie Miller -- came out shooting. Miller hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the opening minutes and it appeared the Pacers took control when the Cavaliers lost control of their emotions.

    Guard Andre Miller was called for an offensive foul with 7:20 left in the quarter, and Tinsley retaliated with a kick. Both players were called for technicals. When Cavaliers coach John Lucas continued to argue, he, too, drew a technical.

    Reggie Miller responded with a free throw and another 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 69-57 lead.

    Then the Cavaliers answered.

    "Our defense in the third and fourth quarters was tough," Lucas said. "That was one of the best defensive efforts from my team all year."

    The Cavaliers got back in the game with an 11-0 run and took the lead with an 8-2 spurt early in the fourth quarter when Davis connected on two free throws with 9:42 remaining.

    From there, Cleveland simply went to Davis, over and over.

    "They wanted the game more than we did," Miller said. "We need to get the glue off of our shoes or put springs in our legs. This is just not fun and it will be tough."

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland, while Jonathan Bender matched his career high with 20 points for Indiana. Jermaine O'Neal added 18 points for the Pacers.

    Game notes

    Indiana has been outrebounded 95-58 in its last two games. ... The Cavaliers are 9-29 on the road this season. ... The Pacers are 22-27 against the Eastern Conference with five games remaining -- all against the East. Indiana will try to avoid its first losing season in the conference since 1996-97.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 111 99
    FGM-FGA 39-82 (.476) 33-76 (.434)
    3PM-3PA 2-8 (.250) 4-13 (.308)
    FTM-FTA 31-41 (.756) 29-34 (.853)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-50 5-32
    Assists 17 22
    Turnovers 9 9
    Steals 1 4
    Blocks 6 6
    Fast Break Points 5 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (5/0) 30 (3/1)

    Top Performers

    Ricky Davis Davis
    Points: 32
    Reb: 0
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 18
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4