Amico: Cavs’ Thompson delivers in reserve

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson responded after returning to a reserve role.

INSTANT RECAP

byamico

CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers didn’t have their best stuff for most of the night, but the two-game skid is over.

And that’s all that matters after Monday’s exhilarating 100-96 win over the visiting Pacers.

In his first game of coming back off the bench, Cavs center Tristan Thompson gave one of his best all-around performances of the season — collecting 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in 30 minutes.

Thompson was moved back into a reserve role before the game, in favor of Timofey Mozgov, by Cavs coach Tyronn Lue.

“Just want to mix it up a little,” Lue explained.

Thompson was particularly clutch late, hitting a little hook shot in the lane to put the Cavs up by two, then swatting a shot by Pacers guard George Hill off the backboard on the next possession. Thompson finished 6-of-7 from the floor.

“It was a pretty nice block,” Thompson said of his big play, smiling.

Kyrie Irving (20 points, six assists) then hit four clutch free throws in the finals 8.9 seconds to put it away.

The Cavs (42-17) received a game-high 33 points from LeBron James — who hit Matthew Dellavedova with a drive-and-kick assist for a big 3-pointer delivered by Delly.

Monta Ellis led the Pacers (31-29) with 28 points, and Paul George scored 23.

The Cavs are off until a back-to-back home set this weekend, beginning Friday vs. the Wizards on “Miracle of Richfield” night.

I’ll have more later in my postgame dribbles.

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