McConnell sets steals mark, Pacers rally past Cavs 114-111
CLEVELAND — T.J. McConnell set an NBA record with nine steals in the first half and posted his second career triple-double with 16 points, 13 assists and a franchise-best 10 steals, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 114-111 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
McConnell also went 8 of 8 from the field in 36 minutes off the bench as Indiana rallied from a 19-point deficit in the third quarter and snapped Cleveland’s four-game winning streak. Malcolm Brogdon scored 27 points for the Pacers, who snapped a four-game skid.
The NBA record of 11 steals in a game is shared by New Jersey’s Kendall Gill on April 3, 1999, against Miami, and San Antonio’s Larry Kenon on Dec. 26, 1976, at Kansas City.
McConnell’s previous career best was six steaks on two occasions, the last on Feb. 12, 2018, against New York, when he had his first triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. The sixth-year pro entered the game second in the league in steals with 1.73 per game.
Collin Sexton had 32 points, 10 assists and three steals, and Jarrett Allen had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who committed 26 turnovers. Cleveland held an 81-62 lead with 6:07 left in the third quarter, but the Pacers answered with a 34-11 run over the next 11 1/2 minutes.
Indiana went in front for good at 108-106 on a 3-pointer by Justin Holiday with 1:18 remaining. After Dylan Windler made a layup to pull the Cavaliers within 112-111, Malcolm Brogdon made two free throws with one second left and Cleveland was unable to get off a potential game-tying shot.
Indiana stole the ball on six straight Cleveland possessions in the first — five by McConnell – and scored 11 consecutive points. McConnell also had three assists in the 100-second surge.
Cleveland carried a 61-51 lead into the half thanks to 14 points and 10 assists by Sexton and 13 points from Allen. The Cavaliers outrebounded Indiana 26-5, with Allen grabbing six.
Sexton became the first Cleveland player with 10 assists in the opening half since LeBron James on Feb. 6, 2017, at Washington. The last Cavaliers player with a point-assist double-double in a half was James on Feb. 7, 2018, against Minnesota.
The Cavaliers will not be represented at NBA All-Star Game activities in Atlanta, giving their entire team an extended break. Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff hoped second-year G Darius Garland or rookie F Isaac Okoro would be picked for the Rising Stars. “We had guys that deserved to go, so I’m disappointed by the voting,” Bickerstaff said. Garland scored 16 points in 19 minutes before exiting with a strained left groin.
Pacers: G Doug McDermott (broken tooth) visited the dentist Tuesday and was in the starting lineup. … G Jeremy Lamb (left knee soreness) returned to action after missing one game. … G Caris LeVert (left kidney carcinoma) and F T.J. Warren (left foot stress fracture) remain out, but LeVert could make his Indiana debut later this month after being acquired in the James Harden mega-trade.
Cavaliers: F Dean Wade made his fifth consecutive start and scored a career-high 17 points with five 3-pointers. “Dean is a real likeable dude, to be honest with you, and that’s why the other guys are so happy about his success,” Bickerstaff said. … F Taurean Prince (left ankle soreness), who had been limited to one game and eight minutes since Feb. 14, was Cleveland’s fourth player off the bench.
Pacers: Host Denver on Thursday. Following the All-Star break, Indiana will go on the road for three games beginning March 12 at the Lakers.
Cavaliers: Visit New Orleans on March 12. Cleveland won’t play another game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse until March 17 against the Celtics.