For the second straight game, the Indiana Pacers almost came back against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of their first-round series. This time it was Indiana’s inability to stop Cleveland’s Big Three that caused the Pacers to lose 117-111. Like in Game 1 the Pacers fell behind early and only made the game close thanks to a strong fourth quarter performance.
Lebron James just missed having a triple double for the Cavaliers as he had 25 points, 1o rebounds, and seven assists. Kevin Love missed only one shot attempt as he shot 6-7 from the field including three three-pointers en route to 27 points and 11 rebounds. But Kyrie Irving had the biggest night as he took over the game and had 37 points. Altogether the Big Three had 89 of Cleveland’s 117 points in the game.
Paul George led the Pacers with 32 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. While Jeff Teague added 23 points, four rebounds, and four assists. The Pacers are not struggling to score through the first two games of this series as it is their defense that is killing them.
While the Pacers forced 18 turnovers they also allowed Cleveland to shoot 55.3 percent from the field and hit 13 three-pointers. That kind of lackluster defense on the perimeter is costing the Pacers big time.
Another big key that is hurting the Pacers is their play in the first three quarters of the game. This is the second straight game that the team has had to crawl out of a big hole that they helped put themselves into. By the end of the third quarter in Game 2, the Paces trailed 96-78. They were able to make it somewhat closer thanks to a fourth quarter performance where they outscored the Cavaliers 33-21. But they were not able to get the lead down to single digits until the 4:21 mark left in the game. The closest they got to tying the game was when they brought the lead down to five points with 2:28 left to play but Cleveland was able to pull away from the Pacers shortly after that.
The Pacers spend so much of their energy trying to catch up after their lackluster play for most of the game that by the time they were in striking distance of Cleveland the Pacers were exhausted. During the fourth quarter of the last two games, Indiana has outscored Cleveland 57-38. If the Pacers want to get back into this series they must start off the next game with that same kind of energy and prevent themselves from playing catch-up for most of the game.
Things might get worse for the Pacers, however, thanks to George’s postgame comments after both losses that can be seen by some as him throwing his teammates under the bus. Distractions are the last thing the team needs right now especially if they are coming from their best player. If the Pacers don’t get their act together soon they will be out of the playoffs rather quickly.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Indiana Pacers article is published, fill out our email notification form.