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RESERVE AND PROTECT

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The Cavs were bailed out by their bench

A trend, or a small-sample-sized hiccup? Cleveland's starting five of Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson had a net rating of --2.4 in a sweep of the Pacers. The bench, instead, provided the fireworks. Surrounding James with CHANNING FRYE, Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert and Deron Williams proved particularly potent: They put up a 141.1 offensive rating in 22 minutes together. The Cavaliers are a top-heavy team, but their bench could become the key to an extended playoff run.