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Friday, May 29, 2020

Jeff Teague: Pacers ‘playing for pride’ after meltdown against Cavs

The Indiana Pacers blew Game 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in historic fashion Thursday night — literally.

Despite heading into the locker room at halftime with a 25-point lead, the Pacers found a way to lose. No team in NBA playoff history had ever blown that big of a halftime lead. Because of the meltdown, Indiana is on the verge of being swept. Starting point guard Jeff Teague insists he is not going to let that happen.

“It sucks. We had them. That was our game and we lost it,” Teague told reporters. “We’re playing for pride now. We’re all competitors in here. We all believe in one another. We ain’t getting swept. We’re gonna move on and come out ready to play.”

In other words, the Pacers are going to try to salvage a win because they know they have no shot.

LeBron James led the way for the Cavs (what else is new?) with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. He got stronger as the game went on, and both Teague and Paul George realized their team allowed too many open looks in the second half.

“Here we are up (25) to start the second half and a chance to put our foot on their throat and we came out relaxed,” George said, via Nate Taylor of the Indy Star. “We didn’t pressure up on the ball and make anything tough. I thought they, again, had stretches where they were just walking into 3-pointers. You can’t do that.”

George finished with 36 points, but 21 of them came in the second quarter alone.

The Pacers never had a chance to win a series against the Cavs, who should really be the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. No matter how much LeBron praises George on social media, the talent gap between the two players and their respective supporting casts is just too significant to overcome. It’d be a surprise if Indiana extended the series.

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