Indiana’s Austin Croshere missed everything on a 3-pointer that would have tied the game in the closing seconds and the Cavaliers beat the Pacers 93-89 Friday night.
The Cavaliers won their fourth straight game and snapped a seven-game losing streak at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Pacers lost their fifth straight and seventh of nine.
“We have been doing a great job lately of closing out games on the road, and it was nice to see us able to do that here tonight,” James said. “It’s something we need to keep up.”
O’Neal, who plays power forward and center, is out for at least eight weeks with a torn left groin. Ilgauskas, a 7-foot-3 center, took advantage.
“It definitely makes things a lot easier for me,” he said. “I was able to make strong moves to the basket in the second half, and I shot a lot of free throws and I was able to make them.”
James scored 14 points in the first quarter and the Cavaliers led 27-20 after one.
The Pacers shot 33 percent from the field in the first quarter, but bounced back to shoot 50 percent in the second to cut Cleveland’s lead to 47-43 at the break.
The Pacers took an 87-84 lead on David Harrison’s layup with 1:58 left, but Ilgauskas made six of six free throws in the final 1:38 and the Pacers had just one field goal the rest of the way. Cleveland outscored the Pacers 24-11 from the free-throw line.
The Pacers fell to 21-21, the first time this season they have been .500 or below.
“We hung in there, gave ourselves a chance to win, but didn’t take advantage of it,” said Indiana guard Sarunas Jasikevicius, who finished with 10 points. “We fought together and showed that we could be a good basketball team.”
Stephen Jackson made six of 20 field goals and scored 14 points for Indiana, which lost to Cleveland 96-66 on Tuesday.
Granger made eight of 11 field goals, including a 3-pointer that gave the Pacers their first lead of the game, 81-80, with six minutes left.
The Pacers will spend the next few days trying to get Stojakovic comfortable with their schemes. He’ll make his Indiana debut Tuesday at Washington. His first home game will be Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Tinsley sat out with a sore elbow. He recently missed 11 games with right elbow and bicep injuries, then played four games before going back to the bench. … Indiana’s Scot Pollard played for the first time in nine games. He scored six points.