Bogdanovic, Oladipo lead Pacers past winless Cavs 119-107
CLEVELAND— Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers didn’t have to worry about LeBron James on this trip to Cleveland.
Oladipo scored 24 points, Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with 25 points and Indiana kept the Cavaliers winless on the season with a 119-107 victory on Saturday night.
The teams met for the first time since Cleveland defeated Indiana in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last season. James scored 45 points in Game 7 and the Cavaliers survived their toughest test in reaching the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season.
Oladipo hasn’t forgotten anything about that game.
“Every time I play here, I sit here in this same locker,” he said. “Every time I land in Cleveland, I think about it. I watched it all summer, probably about 75 times. It’s all I thought about.”
The Pacers had no such troubles this time. Indiana took control midway through the fourth quarter and followed up its 20-point win in San Antonio on Wednesday with another road victory.
Cleveland (0-6) is off to its worst start since losing its first seven games in the 1995-96 season. The Cavaliers are struggling to adjust without James, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency. Cleveland also missed forward Kevin Love, who was out for the second straight game because of a sore left foot.
Cleveland committed 18 turnovers that led to 30 points and helped Indiana shoot 65 percent (48 for 74) from the field.
“Our margin for error is slim,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “It’s very slim.”
Cleveland cut a 15-point lead to 97-91 early in the fourth quarter before Indiana regained control with four straight baskets. Darren Collison scored on a layup and a jumper, Oladipo hit a 12-footer and Domanta Sabonis scored in the lane.
Sabonis made another layup and Oladipo’s 3-pointer with 3:58 left pushed the lead to 113-98.
Indiana (4-2) placed six players in double figures. Collison, Myles Turner and Sabonis each scored 15 points while Thaddeus Young added 10.
“We didn’t want to make it a trap game,” Collison said. “Every team in the NBA is respectable, regardless of who is out there. They played as hard as we did tonight.”
Rodney Hood led Cleveland with 17 points while Larry Nance Jr. came off the bench to score 15.
Cleveland has struggled without James, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency while Love leads the team with 19 points a game.
Indiana went ahead for good midway through the second quarter. Oladipo scored on a layup, a dunk and a jumper as Indiana turned a four-point deficit into a 60-55 halftime lead.
The Pacers’ run continued in the third quarter. Oladipo and Bogdanovic hit 3-pointers, and Collison knocked down a jumper from the corner and scored in the lane, to lead 81-66.
Indiana guard Tyreke Evans sat out the game because of a violation of team rules. In a tweet posted by the team Friday, Evans said he was late for practice. He’s expected to play Monday against Portland.
The five-time All-Star, who leads the team scoring 19 points a game, also missed Thursday’s game against Detroit. Love missed three of the Cavaliers’ four exhibition games because of the injury, and it’s uncertain when he’ll return.
“He tried to play through it understanding we hadn’t won a game and we were struggling a little bit,” Lue said. “He wanted to be on the floor and try to make a difference. We applaud him for that. We just hope he can get healthy soon.”