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Pacers dunk sinking Cavs, 99-89

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm •  Published: December 21, 2012

CLEVELAND (AP) — Huddled around a laptop in the middle of their locker room, the Indiana Pacers watched Gerald Green's ferocious dunk over and over again. They couldn't get enough.

Once was more than the sinking Cavaliers could handle.

Roy Hibbert scored 18 points, Lance Stephenson added a season-high 16 and Green delivered a monster jam early in the fourth quarter that sent the Pacers to a 99-89 win over Cleveland, which lost its sixth straight game Friday night and has dropped 17 in a row to Central Division opponents.

Hibbert didn't have to deal with injured Cavs center Anderson Varejao, the NBA's leading rebounder, who missed his second game in a row with a bruised right knee.

Varejao's absence may have been most felt when Green, the NBA's slam dunk champion in 2007, threw down a dunk that's certain to make highlight reels for the next few days. Driving the left side, he soared in the lane and hammered the ball in over Cleveland's Samardo Samuels, who could do nothing to stop it.

"That was one of the best dunks I've ever seen," Pacers coach Frank Vogel, "which is also what the guys in the locker room were saying."

Green stared at Samuels and was given a technical foul, but the damage was done.

"I don't mind a little swagger, but I don't want to get a technical," Vogel said. "Two games in a row, he's given us big lifts off the bench with our scoring."

Green didn't want to judge his jam.

"I don't rank my dunks," he said. "I got the ball on the perimeter and (my) team just kind of gave me the whole side of the floor — and I got the dunk."

David West added 15 points with 10 rebounds and Stephenson went 7 of 8 from the field and chipped in a career-high seven assists as the Pacers won for the fifth time in six games.

Kyrie Irving scored 17 points on just 5-of-16 shooting and had six turnovers for the Cavs, who are 1-11 in their last 12 games. Tristan Thompson had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland, 3-21 in its past 24.

"Unless we play as a team at both ends of the floor, we are going to continue to lose," said Cavs coach Bryron Scott, who acknowledged being frustrated with his young squad and unsure of how to fix it. "I'm not running out of ideas, but I'm getting close."

With Varejao on the bench in street clothes, the Pacers enjoyed a size advantage inside and they outrebounded the Cavaliers 44-35. Hibbert spent the last 5 minutes on the bench after picking up his fifth foul, but by then Indiana led by double digits and rolled to a relatively easy win.

Indiana's Paul George, scoreless at halftime, had eight points and four steals in the third quarter, when the Pacers outscored the Cavaliers 33-22 to take a 10-point lead into the fourth.

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