CLEVELAND (AP) – Tristan Thompson scored 25 points and made his first career 3-pointer, Kevin Love scored 21 and the Cleveland Cavaliers played well in a 110-99 home-opening win on Saturday night, giving first-year coach John Beilein his first NBA victory.
The Cavs opened their 50th season by honoring their past – and especially the 1990s – throughout the game.
The present looked more promising.
Love was much more involved than during an opening-night loss at Orlando on Wednesday, adding 13 rebounds and nine assists. Thompson also had 13 rebounds, Collin Sexton scored 18 and rookie Darius Garland 12, making a key 3-pointer down the stretch to slow Indiana’s comeback.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 30 and had 10 assists to lead the Pacers.
The Cavs blitzed the Pacers to open second quarter, going on a 26-4 run. They made seven of 10 3-point attempts in the quarter and outscored Indiana 39-20 in the period to open a 65-48 halftime lead.
One of Love’s 3s put Cleveland up 21, and the Cavs showed excellent patience while moving the ball from side to side to look for better shots. Shot selection has been something Beilein, the former Michigan coach, has been harping on and his team seems to be listening.
But it was Thompson’s stunning 3-pointer in the first quarter that got the Cavs going.
Thompson, who has been working on his range in practice, hadn’t attempted a 3 since the 2016-17 season, when he pulled up and dropped a 27-footer – his first make from beyond the arc in 642 games. He had been 0 for 9 on long attempts in eight-plus seasons.
Pacers: Began a three-game road trip. They’ll next play at home against the Cavs on Nov. 1. … Coach Nate McMillian said injured All-Star G Victor Oladipo continues to progress as he recovers from knee surgery. He’s been scrimmaging, but hasn’t been cleared to play in full-court workouts. Oladipo played 36 games last season before getting hurt. … G Jeremy Lamb sat out with a bruised right hip sustained in the season-opening loss to Detroit on Wednesday. He did some drills following shootaround, but was still feeling pain. … Edmon Sumner started in his place and scored 10.
Cavaliers: Finalized a four-year, $30.8 million contract extension with F Cedi Osman, who scored just 1 point in 27 minutes. … F John Henson made his Cleveland debut after missing most of last season with a wrist injury sustained while with Milwaukee. Henson had been slowed this season by ankle and groin injuries.
As part of their 50th anniversary celebration, the Cavs honored the six players who have had their numbers retired.
The group, which included Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and Austin Carr, was introduced before the game. They addressed the current Cavs following the morning shootaround.
Love wore a neck tie while warming up before the game to pay tribute to Fred McLeod, the club’s popular broadcaster who died unexpectedly in September. McLeod’s widow, Beth, sent ties from her husband’s collection to select players, coaches and media members to wear for the opener.
The Cavs showed a moving video during the first quarter with highlights from McLeod, who handled play-by-play duties for the Detroit Pistons before coming to the Cavs in 2006. Owner Dan Gilbert narrated the video. He suffered a stroke in May and has been recovering at home.
Pacers: At Chicago on Monday.
Cavaliers: At Milwaukee on Monday.
(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)