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Pacers heat up from long range, turn back Cavaliers

Dec 29, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin (00) shoots the ball while Cleveland Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro (35) defends at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrese Haliburton collected 29 points and nine assists and Buddy Hield added 25 points to fuel the host Indiana Pacers to a 135-126 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday in Indianapolis.

Haliburton made six 3-pointers and Hield had five for the Pacers, who converted 61.3 percent of their shots from beyond the arc (19 of 31).

Rookie Bennedict Mathurin scored 23 points off the bench, Aaron Nesmith added 22 and Myles Turner recorded 14 points and 12 rebounds to send Indiana to its fourth win in five games. The Pacers also avenged a 118-112 loss to the Cavaliers on Dec. 16.

Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell scored 41 points in that December contest and had a team-high 28 on Thursday. Jarrett Allen collected 19 points and 14 rebounds and Caris LeVert scored 19 points for the Cavaliers, who have lost three in a row.

Cleveland was nursing a 117-113 lead before Turner sank a 3-pointer to ignite a 12-2 run by Indiana. Hield also hit a jumper, Haliburton converted a three-point play and Nesmith added a pair of buckets on the interior.

The Cavaliers trimmed the deficit to three points at 127-124 with 1:24 to play, but Nesmith answered with a driving layup. Mitchell misfired on a 3-point attempt before the Pacers sealed the win at the free-throw line.

LeVert converted a three-point play and Kevin Love drained a 3-pointer as Cleveland scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to secure a 106-99 lead. Mathurin, however, scored eight points during a stretch that allowed Indiana to forge a tie at 113-113.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle recorded consecutive technical fouls while protesting a perceived traveling infraction by Mitchell and was ejected with 1:29 remaining in the third quarter. Carlisle was angry after Mitchell had picked up his dribble and threw the ball off the backboard to himself.

Hield drained a trio of 3-pointers in 69 seconds to stake Indiana to a 76-73 lead before Cleveland erupted on a 9-0 run. Mitchell fueled that surge with a 3-pointer, but Nesmith converted from beyond the arc and Haliburton sank a pair of 3-pointers to give the Pacers an 89-86 advantage.

–Field Level Media