Human Interest

PACERS BLEW THEIR CHANCE

After game one against Boston I really thought the Pacers had a chance to win the series. That was just me being delusional because I thought the Pacers had momentum after the win over the New York Knicks. The way they seemed to control Boston in game one and put themselves up by three with only seconds remaining, I thought they had a real chance. Game two challenged my confidence, but I still had a feeling that Indiana could even the series after the two games in Indianapolis. Then, Tyrese Halliburton pulled a hamstring! I told my brother, “the Pacers can’t win without Halliburton.”

Well, late in game three, I began to think maybe I was wrong. This Pacer team had Nembhard (32 pts), Siakam (22 pts), and McConnell (23 pts) who built a 12-point lead at the half and still led 90-81 after three quarters. But the Celtics didn’t fold. Tatum (36 pts), Brown (24 pts), and 17-year veteran Al Horford (23pts, made 7 wide-open 3’s) showed they are stars and helped the Celtics outscore Indiana 33-21 in the fourth quarter. That was enough for a 114-111 win. Series is now 3-0. No team has ever won a best-of-7 series when down 3-0. The Pacers had a formidable task ahead. 

Now comes game 4. There’s still no Halliburton. Boston is still Boston! This time, though, I was a deserter to the Pacer faithful and chose to watch the Indy 500 Victory Banquet, telecast at the same time, instead. I guess my optimism had waned, and I feared a blowout, so I decided to watch the game later. I didn’t, however, because on my phone I received an instant message, “Boston finishes off sweep of Pacers with 105-102 win.” Bummer! Not bad, though! Losing by only 3 is very respectable. Leading by 3 at the end of the third quarter says the Pacers still had a chance, but victory was not to be. 

In this morning’s Indianapolis Star, Greg Doyel questioned how the Pacers could be in control of 3 of the four games and still lose in a 4-0 sweep. He had his reasons, and so do I. Here are mine.

The Pacers lost Tyrese Halliburton, their leader and leading scorer. That’s giving up 25 points to your opponent. I still feel, as I said to my brother, The Pacers Can’t Win Without Halliburton!

The Pacers didn’t make defensive stops nor did they score when they needed to. The Celtics did.

Nembhard (24 pts), Siakam (19 pts), Turner (8 pts), and McConnell (15 pts), are really good players, but in clutch situations and at crunch time, Tatum (26 pts), Brown (29 pts), Holiday (17 pts), and White (16 pts) played better. Boston made stops and scored at the important times. The Pacers struggled. That’s poise and maturity which Boston displayed each game. 

The Pacers are physically tough and play that way. The Celtics play with finesse and skill, and in this series, finesse and skill were the better traits.

The only further comments I can make are “there’s always next year,”or “Just wait til next year.” We played well and have the players to win, but they need to stay healthy and be more poised. I hope Indiana keeps Siakam, Nembhard, and McConnell, and that Ben Mathurin can return from injury. Team management has put together a good roster. Hopefully, they can keep it intact and not blow it up like the Phoenix Suns did. 

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