(Independence) - Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he made a mistake by firing Mike Brown three years ago as Cleveland's coach and is thrilled to be able to hire him again.
Brown was re-introduced by the team on Thursday, reuniting with a team he led to five straight playoff appearances before he was fired in 2010. Gilbert said: "Yeah, it was a mistake. Sure it was a mistake" to fire Brown, who guided the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2007.
Brown was fired shortly after Cleveland was eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Gilbert changed coaches mostly to appease LeBron James, who was still with the team before leaving as a free agent.
Gilbert said: "We're very happy to rectify any position we took back then. Maybe he's meant to be here."
Brown's return has prompted a mixed reaction from Cleveland fans, some wondering why Gilbert would bring back a coach who couldn't win it all with James.
Shortly after Brown's reunion with the Cavs was made official, Gilbert went on Twitter to defend his decision. He pointed out that Brown and Phil Jackson are the only coaches with more than five years of experience to never miss the playoffs in their careers. Gilbert also noted that at 43, Brown "is not even near his peak as an NBA coach."
"Not 'selling' boys and girls," the billionaire owner wrote. "Just providing facts. You decide. Let's see how things roll next year and beyond. How many days until opening tip?"
Of course, Brown's return raises more speculation about what impact that could have on the possibility of James one day playing for the Cavs again. James can opt out of his contract with Miami as early as the summer of 2014 and the three-time league MVP has said he could imagine playing for Cleveland again.
On Wednesday night, James said he was pleased Brown was back with the Cavs.
"I'm happy for him," James said before the Heat took a 2-0 lead over Milwaukee. "Very happy for him. I think he's a really good coach, very defensive-minded coach. It'll be good for those young guys that they have."
Brown will replace Byron Scott, the man who replaced him three years ago. Scott was fired last week by Gilbert following his third straight losing season, one of injuries, blown leads and long losing streaks. The Cavs dropped 16 of their last 18 under Scott and Gilbert made the move, saying he was not seeing enough progress and that he was most disappointed by the Cavs' defense.
Defense is Brown's forte and the Cavs ranked among the league's stingiest defensive teams during his tenure.
Gilbert and general manager Chris Grant, a close friend of Brown's since college, met in Detroit on Sunday and the talks accelerated. The Cavs acted quickly to secure Brown, who was approached by a few other teams with vacancies.
"I am more than excited about Mike Brown's return to the Cleveland Cavaliers," Gilbert said in a release. "Mike has done nothing but win in this league since he was a first-year assistant many years ago. He is going to instill a much-needed defensive-first philosophy in our young and talented team that is going to serve as our foundation and identity as we continue down the path of building the kind of franchise that competes at a championship level for many years to come."
Even before Scott was fired, Brown was planning to move his family back to Cleveland. Brown's wife, Carolyn, and the couple's teenage sons enjoyed their time here and wanted to come back.
With James emerging as a superstar, the Cavs made the finals in 2007 and won more than 60 games in 2008-09 (66-16) and 2009-10 (61-21). However, they failed to win the franchise's first NBA title and Brown paid the price after the Cavs were beaten by Boston in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals.
Brown is getting a second chance to take the next step.
"I am thrilled to return to Cleveland to coach the Cavaliers," Brown said in the release. "The commitment ownership and management have shown in their efforts to build a successful team and organization is deep and I am excited to lead the team forward.
"Nothing would mean more to me and my family than to help bring success to this very special community and to all of our committed and loyal fans."
(Cleveland) – Mike Brown has a handshake deal to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers…again. The are numerous reports that the final details are being hammered out and the deal could be announced Wednesday.
Mike Brown's five successful seasons as Cavaliers coach ended awkwardly, with neither side certain it was the right move for him to be fired.
The breakup was a little messy
It might be time to reconcile.
Brown is interested in returning for a second stint with the team, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday. Brown, who went to the NBA finals with the Cavs in 2007, is ''receptive to the idea'' of coaching in Cleveland again, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the sides have not yet discussed a possible return.
The Cavs are looking for a new coach after firing Byron Scott on Thursday following his third straight losing season. Scott was the one who replaced Brown in 2010, shortly after the Cavs were eliminated by Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals and weeks before LeBron James decided to leave as a free agent.
Brown went 272-138 and went to the playoffs every season with the Cavs, who won 66 and 61 games in his last two regular seasons. The team's decision to dismiss Brown following the '10 season was made in part to try and appease James, whose final days with the Cavs were tension filled and included whispers by some he quit on the team during the Celtics series.
After the Cavs were eliminated, the club had 10 days to make a decision on his future or they would have had to pay Brown's entire $4 million salary for the next season. The Cavs asked Brown to extend their window, but he refused and was let go on the 10th day. Brown didn't want to risk waiting until later in the summer and then not having enough time to find a job if he was fired.
He wound up sitting out a season before he was hired by the Los Angeles Lakers. He spent one season in L.A. before he was fired five games into this season.
Brown left Cleveland on good terms with owner Dan Gilbert and he's tight with general manager Chris Grant, a close friend since college. Earlier this week, Grant said the team's new coach would have to be defensive-minded, a teacher, hard worker and ''grinder,'' and that would aptly describe the affable Brown, who stressed defense during his time with the Cavaliers.
Interestingly, Brown was already planning a move back from California to Cleveland long before Scott was fired. Brown and his wife, Carolyn, immersed themselves into the community when they were here previously and have maintained friendships. Also, they want to be able to watch their eldest son, Elijah, play basketball next season at Butler. The couple's younger son, Cameron, intends to finish high school in the area.
Cleveland's list of candidates reportedly included Golden State assistant Mike Malone, who was previously on Brown's staff with the Cavs as well as Miami assistant David Fizdale. Grant will also likely present some college names to Gilbert, who will obviously have final say on the hire.
On Saturday, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said it's time for Malone to get his shot as a head coach.
''I think he's been ready,'' said Jackson, who did not know if the Cavs had contacted Malone. ''He deserves it, though. He deserves a chance.''
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(Copyright © 2013 by Clear Channel and the Associated Press, all rights reserved. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images.)
(Cleveland) The Cavaliers are in search mode for a new head coach, and the
search could mean the return of a familiar face. Former Cavs head coach Mike
Brown met with the Cavs Sunday night and it appears he may be the frontrunner
for the job. Brown who was fired by the Lakers just 5 games into the past season
holds many of the qualities, that the Cavs are seeking in their next bench
boss. He has had success as a head coach. He is defensive minded and
considered to be a very good teacher.
Brown is also very fond of Cleveland and had already made plans for his family
to return to northeast Ohio to reside whether he becomes the Cavs coach
The Cavs may have to act quickly to hire Brown, as he could have several
suitors based on his winning resume.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Cleveland) - The Byron Scott era is over for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After a 24-58 season, the Cavaliers are letting their head coach go.
The announcement was made by Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. He held a news conference carried live on Newsradio WTAM 1100.
Scott, 52, was named the 18th head coach in Cleveland Cavaliers history on July 1, 2010. The Cavaliers’ record during Scott’s tenure as Head Coach was 64-166.
“I want to thank Chris Grant, Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers organization for the opportunity I had to coach this team the last three seasons,” said Scott. “Anita and I have enjoyed our time here in Cleveland and greatly appreciate the support we received from this special community and the many friendships we developed. I am certainly proud of the progress that many of our players have made and greatly appreciate the dedication of my coaches and our team in our efforts to attain the success we all desired.”
The Cavaliers will immediately commence a search, led by General Manager Chris Grant, for the team’s next head coach.
"I wish Byron Scott and his entire family the best going forward. Byron is a class guy, both on and off the court, and I thank him for his three years of coaching the Cavaliers,” said Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert.
“I fully support the difficult move that was made today. Although we saw progress with young individual player development, we did not see the kind of progress we expected on the team level this past season. We understand it was challenging with the injuries, but when you are at our stage in the building process, you don't only measure team progress in wins and losses.
It has been our strong and stated belief that when our team once again returns to competing at the NBA's highest levels it will be because we have achieved our goals on the defensive side of the court.
Our fans have been incredibly loyal and supportive during these transition years. They deserve better than we have been delivering as of late and it is our full intent to deliver them the kind of competitive team that they expect to see on the court beginning next season,” Gilbert concluded.
Scott didn't catch many breaks in his tenure. Year-one was post LeBron James. In the second year there was a lockout. This season was riddled by injuries, including star players Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao.
But losing 16 of the last 18 games while squandering big leads in several games with little improvement on the defensive end led to Thursday's decision.
Scott was formerly the head coach of the New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets.
He attended Arizona State University, but left school in his junior year to sign with the then San Diego Clippers. He was an important component of the Los Angeles Lakers championship teams of the mid-to-late 1980s.
(Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images)
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(Copyright © 2013 by Clear Channel, all rights reserved. Top photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images Sports.)
CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James warmed up, got dressed and grabbed a seat. Like an ordinary fan, he watched the Heat, who had some guy named Jarvis Varnado playing for them. And Miami won without James - and most of its other stars.
James sat on the bench in street clothes as Norris Cole stripped Kyrie Irving of the ball with 2.2 seconds left to give Miami, with coach Erik Spoelstra resting his starters and most of his top players for the playoffs, a 96-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
Cole finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists. But it was his only steal on Cleveland's final possession that sealed one of Miami's most unexpected wins this season. "Everbody had a hand in this win,'' Spoelstra said. "That's what we wanted to do. We're here. We might as well compete and made the most of it.'
' James was disappointed to not play in another homecoming game against his former team, but he appreciated Spoelstra's desire to get the NBA champions as healthy and refreshed as possible heading into the postseason. Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers joined James on the bench while Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem stayed back in Miami with minor injuries.
Rashard Lewis scored 19 points and James Jones had 14 for the Heat Light, and Miami got win 65 - a number Spoelstra couldn't have imagined. "Sixty-five is a big number,'' Spoelstra said. "I've been part of championship teams and teams that had great success in this league that have never been able to win this many games.''
Irving and Tristan Thompson scored 16 apiece for the Cavs, who have lost five straight, 15 of 17 and may soon relieve Byron Scott of his coaching duties. Scott, though, believes he will return for a fourth season.
"I am going to be back to coach them,'' he said. "I've got a year left on my contract, so unless I'm told different, I expect to do that.'' Irving scored on two driving layups to get the Cavs within one, and Cole gave Cleveland its final chance by missing two free throws with 13.9 seconds left. After two timeouts, the Cavs ran an isolation play for Irving, who drove left and tried to spin on Cole but had the ball taken away by the Cleveland State product.
As Cole dribbled out the final seconds, James and the rest of the Heat's high-paid benchwarmers walked onto the floor to help Miami's reserves celebrate. "I wanted to stay between him and the basket,'' Cole said of the final play. "I had a chance to strip the ball and I did. In situatuions like that the game's on the line. You have to buckle up and play the best defense you can.''
When the game ended, Irving ran off the floor and skipped a postgame ceremony where Cavs players gave away jerseys and game-worn shoes to fans. A team official said Irving was injured, but that seemed to be news to the 21-year-old All-Star. "That's what I have?'' Irving said sarcastically. "Oh. When was someone going to tell me? I'm hurt again. How long am I going to be out?
James was limited to a pregame workout with Bosh and Chalmers as the Heat played their final road game before finishing the regular season in Orlando on Wednesday. James was officially listed as being out with a "sore right hamstring'' but his benching was more to get him set for another possible title run.
This was a fairly uneventful game compared to James' previous visit on March 20, when the Heat overcame a 27-point deficit in the second half to win; a fan wearing a T-shirt asking James to return to Cleveland ran onto the floor; and the giant scoreboard leaked fluid and delayed the opening tip.
With James in a brown sport coat and Bosh wearing his Heat warmups, Spoelstra sent out a starting lineup of Cole, Mike Miller, Joel Anthony, Lewis and 40-year-old journeyman Juwan Howard, who made his first NBA start since April 14, 2010. Still, Miami's backups were too much for the Cavs. "Look at their roster,'' Thompson said. "They're not scrubs. A lot of these guys are champions and can start on other teams.''
James warmed up on the Quicken Loans floor, his homecourt for seven years, for more than 30 minutes before heading to the locker room. On his way out, he stopped to sign autographs in the tunnel leading to Miami's dressing room as fans leaned over a railing to hand him balls, caps, posters and anything they could.
An aluminum railing briefly gave way and nearly toppled fans on top of James. But security guards acted quickly and were able to secure the partition before ordering fans to move back before someone was seriously injured. James said he was disappointed not to play, but supported his coach. "I'm never sad about sitting,'' he said, smiling. "I'm sad about not playing.'
' A third straight losing season for Cleveland is winding down with coach Scott's future in jeopardy. Scott is already under contract for next season, but there's no guarantee he'll be back.
Owner Dan Gilbert, who has not commented on Scott's status, had a courtside seat for Cleveland's last home game. He can't be happy with his team missing the playoffs again, and could be forced to change coaches. Scott said this season has worn him down. "I'm fatigued, mentally, physically, a little bit of everything,'' he said. "But I still wake up every morning ready for work.''
The Cavs did show more effort than on Sunday in Philadelphia when Irving scored a career-low 4 points and Scott benched his starters for the fourth quarter.
NOTES: James' statistics are nearly identical to last season's, and Spoelstra doesn't see the reigning MVP slowing down anytime soon. "I don't know if many people anticipated after last year's season and finals run that he would be able to match that and be even more efficient and better year this year,'' Spoelstra said. "Why wouldn't he be able to improve and take it to another level in the years coming up? He's still so young and he has that type of mindset where he'll always try to improve. ...
Cavs rookie G Waiters, who recently missed 10 games with a knee injury, looked perfectly healthy when he soared for a vicious dunk over Chris "Birdman'' Andersen, who nearly had a "Spalding'' imprint added to his collection of tattoos.
PHILADELPHIA -- Doug Collins walked off the Philadelphia court a winner for the final time this home season.
The wait is on to find out if he'll return to coach the 76ers for another year.
Dorell Wright scored 15 points and Thaddeus Young had 14 points and nine rebounds to lead the Sixers to a 91-77 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
With the team missing the playoffs, Collins' future has become the focal point.
The Sixers picked up the option on Collins' contract for the 2013-14 season in training camp and he said then he wanted to remain with the organization in some capacity when his coaching career is over. He may not want to return for another season to coach a team with little chance of success. Collins has refused this week to discuss next season, and said he would only discuss the home finale because, "everything else is moot."
His agent, John Langel, tried to diffuse the blossoming speculation and said Collins planned to return next season -- for now.
"He's here for another year, at least," Langel said. "He's the coach and we'll see what happens."
Langel said Collins asked the Sixers last summer to pick up the option for next season. But the coach does not want Langel to negotiate for another extension, preferring to now move ahead on a year-by-year basis.
The Sixers were 23-18 at home and 33-47 overall, currently sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers won 35 games and a round in the playoffs in last year's lockout-shortened season.
Hoping to build on that momentum, the Sixers broke up the nucleus of a team full of solid players and went big for a superstar. Instead of a deep playoff run, the Sixers have a date with the draft lottery.
The Andrew Bynum deal is already on the short list of worst trades in Philadelphia sports history. Bynum never played for the Sixers because of bone bruises in both knees. He stated time and again he would play this season, only to shut it down for good on March 18 and undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Bynum earned $16.5 million this season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
"We're really in a bit of a hole," team adviser Julius Erving said. "It's almost like starting all over."
The Sixers had a season full of high expectations practically unravel on media day when they announced Bynum would not be ready for training camp.
"If we had Andrew, it'd be a completely different story," said Young. "The team was built for him. We had shooters, we had ball handlers, we had guys who do the grunt work. We have Andrew in the mix, that's easily 20-10."
Bynum last talked to the media March 1 and said he would not play in pain or be pressured into playing and risking a potential nine-figure payday. Erving, a Hall of Famer and one of the 76ers' greatest all-time players, said the organization should be wary about getting back in business with Bynum.
"The net result is Robert Parrish's old number: zero zero," Erving said. "We have not benefited one degree. I guess he has."
Dr. J added: "It's going to be costly if the Bynum situation is one of total uncertainty for another year. I don't think the organization should stand for that and I don't think the fans are going to stand for that."
With the season down to the final days, Collins lamented how the Bynum deal backfired this season -- and could have repercussions for years to come.
"I'd give (owner) Josh (Harris) and our organization a lot of credit, they swung for the fences," Collins said. "Unfortunately, with Andrew getting hurt ... it changed the whole dynamic of our season."
Spencer Hawes and Jrue Holiday both scored 14 points for the Sixers, who raced to a 19-point lead in the first half and sent the Cavaliers to their fourth straight loss.
Tristan Thompson had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavs, Kevin Jones had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored four points in 18 minutes.
The game was a matchup of potential lame-duck coaches. Cavaliers coach Byron Scott is on the hot seat with the team buried near the bottom of the East standings. Scott is under contract for next year after the club picked up his option in October.
Scott has tried to not let the job speculation affect him.
"It really doesn't bother me," he said. "It's part of the job. Whatever happens, happens."
Outside of a rebounding edge, the Cavaliers had another dismal performance -- 37 percent shooting, 5-of-16 from 3-point range, and only 10 of 15 free throws.
"Lack of effort, it's as simple as that," Scott said. "It's disappointing. That's why you yank guys out and bring other guys in, to see if they can get it going. They have to play with a lot more energy and a lot more effort than they did tonight."
The Cavaliers missed 11 of their first 13 shots and finished at 31 percent in the first half. With the Cavaliers struggling, the Sixers stormed to a 16-3 lead and were ahead 53-34 at the break. The Sixers never looked back and gave their fans one final reason to feel good heading into an uncertain offseason.
"We had a really good chance with Andrew of probably making it pretty deep in the playoffs," Holiday said.
Copyright Associated Press 2013.
Cavs vs Heat tonite 7p WTAM 1100
CLEVELAND -- One struggling team was bound to get some good news Wednesday night.
Detroit coach Lawrence Frank was happy to have something positive to talk about following the Pistons' 111-104 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"These are the guys we're building around, and we've got to fight for them," Frank said. "I have confidence in them, which is why I felt comfortable leaving them out there."
Andre Drummond scored a career-high 29 points and the Pistons won a second straight game for the first time in two months.
Greg Monroe's basket with 38.8 seconds remaining gave Detroit a 105-103 lead and the Pistons, who hadn't won consecutive games since Feb. 8-9, swept the four-game season series from the Cavaliers. Detroit has beaten Cleveland six straight times.
Drummond, who spent most of the fourth quarter at the free throw line after Cleveland coach Byron Scott chose to intentionally foul the 34 percent shooter, also grabbed 11 rebounds. Monroe scored 23 points and Rodney Stuckey added 18.
Kyrie Irving scored 27 points, including 21 in the second half, but missed a 3-pointer that would have given the Cavaliers the lead with 21 seconds left. The All-Star guard was playing on the second night of back-to-back games for the first time since returning from a shoulder injury. Irving committed two turnovers in the final 2:12 and missed a free throw with 16 seconds remaining.
"I was obviously a little fatigued just like everyone else on the floor, but that's no excuse for not executing," he said.
Both teams have been in recent tailspins, leading to speculation that the two coaches could be replaced at the end of the season. The Pistons have just four wins in their last 19 games and are 6-19 since the All-Star break. The Cavaliers have lost 12 of 14.
Drummond was 8 of 14 at the line in the fourth quarter and made two free throws to give Detroit a 101-99 lead with 2:06 to play. His tip-in put Detroit up by four, but Tristan Thompson scored on a drive and Irving's basket with 44 seconds remaining tied the game.
Drummond, who was 9 of 17 from the line for the game, wasn't surprised at the Cavaliers' strategy.
"I knew I needed to make them for us to win, so I just focused at the line," he said. "Some went in, some went out, but all of them were on line. It gives me more points. That's the way you've got to look at it. It gave me a chance to work on my free throws."
Monroe's basket gave Detroit the lead for good. Following Irving's missed 3-pointer, Cleveland's strategy backfired a bit when Drummond grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Thompson after passing the ball. Since the foul away from the ball occurred under the two-minute mark, the Pistons got two free throws and possession. Stuckey made a foul shot and Jonas Jerebko split a pair after another foul.
"I tried to foul him right away, but they called it after he passed the ball," said Thompson. "I guess it's my fault, but I have to keep playing."
Scott would like to have seen the foul occur when Drummond grabbed the rebound.
"I didn't think (Drummond) had the ball," Scott said. "I thought they were trying to take the ball up the floor. It was a young, second-year player mistake. Tristan was thinking right. It was just way too late."
Irving was injured March 10 and missed eight games. He returned March 31, but sat out the following night as part of the team's recovery protocol.
Dion Waiters came off the bench and scored 11 points in 15 minutes in his first action since injuring his left knee March 20. Waiters, the team's second-leading scorer, missed 10 games. Thompson added 19 points.
Will Bynum scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Pistons.
Pistons point guard Jose Calderon, the league's leading three-point shooter, missed his second straight game with a strained triceps. He's averaging 11.6 points a game since being acquired from Toronto.
The Cavaliers blew a 20-point, fourth-quarter lead Tuesday in a 99-94 loss at Indiana. Trailing by two in the closing seconds, Irving drove to the basket for an apparent game-tying layup but was whistled for charging. Scott thought Indiana's Jeff Pendgergraph should have been called for a blocking foul, but the call was upheld after a video review.
Frank said C Jason Maxiell is still recovering from season-ending surgery for a detached retina and isn't traveling with the team. ... Cavaliers G C.J. Miles (concussion) missed his second straight game. Miles was inadvertently elbowed in the forehead by Orlando's Nikola Vucevic on Sunday. ... F Luke Walton (sprained ankle) missed his third straight game.
INDIANAPOLIS -- After the Pacers fell behind against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana coach Frank Vogel decided to fire his team up.
Two quick technicals in the third quarter did the trick.
"We didn't want to let him down," Paul George said after the Pacers rallied from a 20-point deficit for a 99-94 win over the Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
George Hill scored 27 points and David West added 15 for Indiana. George chipped in with 14 points, Lance Stephenson had 13 and Tyler Hansbrough 12 for the Pacers, who can clinch the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over Brooklyn on Friday.
Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and Indiana native Tyler Zeller had 18 before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter for Cleveland, which allowed the Pacers to break off a 25-4 run in the fourth for a 93-92 lead.
Irving hit two free throws to put Cleveland up 94-93, but George knocked down a 3-pointer with 29.9 seconds left to put the Pacers back in front. Jeff Pendergraph then drew a charge on Irving on the ensuing possession and Indiana held on.
The Pacers came to life after coach Frank Vogel was ejected in the third quarter for arguing with officials.
"When coach went out, we really had to pull it together," George said. "We knew the fourth quarter is the way we play. We were really struggling.
"We couldn't have three blowouts in a row. We want to close the season out on a good foot."
Irving and Zeller kept the Cavs alive in the first quarter after the Pacers jumped out to a 20-8 lead. Zeller hit three jumpers from the right elbow and finished the quarter with 14 points -- nearly double his season average.
The Cavs cut the lead to 29-26 after the first 12 minutes.
Indiana's defense struggled for the third consecutive game before picking it up in the fourth.
"We just gave a couple of shots to them," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "Transition defense, I think they average 11 for the season and they had 33 tonight. That's the game, simple as that.
"It seems like (we let up). You would think after three times we'd learn, after two times really. But obviously we didn't."
The Cavs led 53-48 at halftime while shooting 51.1 percent from the field and despite just two free throw attempts in the half.
The Pacers shot 31.6 percent from the field in the second quarter and 38.1 percent in the opening half. They ended the first quarter with a shot clock violation and added two more in the first 2:14 of the second. Indiana had five violations in the game.
"That was a crazy one," Vogel said. "Proud of my coaching staff for pulling out the win and pulling the right strings."
Indiana was outscored 31-16 in the third quarter.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Pacers. ... Cleveland came in ranked 29th in the league NBA in field goal percentage.
CLEVELAND (AP) Kyrie Irving isn't the only second-year player turning in big performances for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Forward Tristan Thompson, following up on a career night Friday, had 15 points and 16 rebounds as the Cavaliers defeated Orlando 91-85 on Sunday night, leading Cleveland to its second straight win for the first time since Feb. 26-27.
Thompson put a stop to the Cavaliers' season-high, 10-game losing streak Friday against Boston with 29 points and 17 rebounds - both career highs.
He hit two free throws and a hook shot in the final three minutes Sunday to help Cleveland maintain its lead after the Cavaliers rallied from an eight-point deficit late in the third quarter. Alonzo Gee scored 19 points, while Wayne Ellington's jumper gave the Cavaliers the lead for good at 72-70 with 7:57 remaining in the game.
Tobias Harris scored 26 points, while Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and 21 rebounds for Orlando, which has lost five in a row and 13 of 14. The Magic have dropped 11 straight away from home - the second-longest road losing streak in franchise history. "You've just got to be more selfish (than we were), and want more than a six-point lead going into the fourth,''
Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn. "Defensively, we were pretty solid in giving ourselves a chance, even though we were 1-for-13 on threes. But you've got to defend without fouling in the fourth quarter, and that's what the game came down to.'' Cleveland began its rebuilding process in the post-LeBron James era by taking Irving with the first pick in the 2011 draft.
The Cavaliers surprised many observers by selecting Thompson, who played one season at the University of Texas, with the fourth pick. After struggling to be consistent as a rookie, Thompson has been a bright spot in another difficult season for the Cavaliers, who have been plagued by injuries and are facing speculation that coach Byron Scott might not return next season.
Not only is Thompson averaging 11.5 points and 9.4 rebounds, he's become a player the Cavaliers can count on late in games. "You look at from the beginning of the season until now, it's big-time improvement,'' Scott said. "He's gotten better. He put in a lot of work this summer and it's starting to pay off.'' "I'm just playing with energy,'' Thompson said. "That's what I did the last two nights. I'm going to try to keep doing it the rest of the year.''
Scott is pleased with what he's seen from his team the last two games. "They haven't quit,'' he said. "They are going to play it out. We are going to keep playing as hard as we can.''
Orlando was winless on a five-game, nine-day trip. The Magic haven't won away from home since March 4. "It's not easy because we're all competitors, but we understand this is part of the process,'' said Vucevic, who has recorded three 20-point, 20-rebound games this season. "We have been competing all year in games - not getting blown out a lot - and we know our future is bright.''
Irving, the Cavaliers' All-Star point guard, scored nine points on 3-of-15 shooting. Irving, who had 10 assists, is 12 for 51 from the field in three games since returning from a shoulder injury. Following the game he gave all the credit to Thompson. "He's been awesome,'' Irving said. "We're going to keep feeding him and he's rebounding his butt off right now.''
Cavaliers guard C.J. Miles left the game in the second quarter after being hit in the forehead with an elbow from Vucevic while the two were going for a rebound. Miles was down on one knee for a couple of minutes and walked to the locker room with a towel to his face. He received six stitches and didn't return. "I wasn't sure what happened,''
Miles said. "I heard a guy in the front row say something. I looked down and saw a puddle of blood. I was about three or four seconds from passing out.'
' Orlando forward Kyle O'Quinn also received six stitches on his lip after being struck in the mouth during a second-quarter scrum under the basket. O'Quinn said a tooth went through his lip. The Magic had 10 players in uniform.
Point guard Jameer Nelson (sprained ankle) missed his fifth straight game. Swingman Maurice Harkless started at shooting guard despite sustaining a knee injury in the first quarter Friday against Chicago. Harkless scored seven points in 39 minutes. Shaun Livingston added 12 points for Cleveland
. NOTES: Two busloads of fans from St. Bonaventure - the alma mater of rookie forward Andrew Nicholson - made the three-hour trip to attend the game. Nicholson scored eight points and had four rebounds. ... Cavaliers F Luke Walton (sprained ankle) didn't dress. He was injured Friday against Boston. ... G Daniel Gibson (elbow) missed his second straight game.