The Indiana Pacers tried and succeeded in giving away Game 3 and there is no coming back from this loss. The Pacers showed some urgency right off the bat against the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Pacers built up a 26 point lead on their home court only to collapse in the second half and lose 119-114.
For the first time in the series, the Pacers had a lead at halftime. Leading 74-49 it looked like the Pacers had decided to show up for the whole game for once instead of just the fourth quarter. But the team must have decided to take the rest of the night off as they were outscored in the third quarter 35-17 by the Cavaliers. LeBron James dominated again as he led the way with a triple-double as he had 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. With that effort, James now has 17 triple-doubles in the postseason. James carried the Cavaliers as both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving struggled in the game. Both Love and Irving scored 13 points but neither played in the fourth quarter.
This loss puts the Pacers in a 3-0 series hole and they must play with a real sense of urgency to at least avoid a sweep. But knowing how the team has responded to challenges during this season don’t be surprised if the Pacers have no fight left in them in Game 4. The team looks defeated and may just pack it in if they fall behind quickly during the next game.
Paul George had 36 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists just missing a triple-double of his own. But don’t let the stats fool you, George was not lights out in the game. He shot 10-28 from the field including 5-15 from the three point line. The team did not really help George much either as Jeff Teague was the second highest scored on the team with 15 points. The Pacers shot a miserable 16-41 from three-point land as they were settling for jump shots most of the second half instead of attacking the paint which was a big reason they had such a large lead in the first place.
The Pacers inside game gave them quite the advantage the Pacers out-rebounded Cleveland 52-40 which included 17 offensive rebounds for Indiana. Yet the team decided to ignore their successful game plan in the second half and Indiana also seemed to forget how to play defense in the second half as they let the Cavaliers score at will after halftime.
The Pacers seemed lost as the Cavaliers made their comeback and either because of bad coaching or just lack of effort the Pacers never regained their composure that they had in the first half. The team blew their chance at getting back into this series and Cleveland has, even more, momentum going into Game 4. This series and the season for the Pacers is coming to a disappointing end.
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