Midway through the third quarter, with the Pacers attempting to rally themselves back into the game, an opportunity was presented in the form of a fastbreak. As Thaddeus Young sprinted towards the basket, LeBron James wasn’t far behind, taking flight and swatting Young’s layup out of bounds.
From that moment forward, the Cavaliers put forth a 9-3 run to extend their lead to an 80-69 advantage, proceeding to beat Indiana 106-102 in Game 4 and finish the series with a sweep, eliminating the Pacers from the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
“It was a rough night, nothing I haven’t dealt with all series in terms of double teams and traps,” said Paul George after the game. “Just a slow night for me to get a rhythm.”
In a series in which the the first three games had all come down to the wire, Sunday’s finale was no different, as the Pacers managed to take a 102-100 lead late in the game, sending The Fieldhouse into hysterics. But James, who finished the series averaging 32.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and nine assists, took the oxygen out of the Pacers’ comeback, flinging in a go-ahead 3-pointer to put the Cavaliers back on top for the remainder of the game.
The loss marked the fourth time in the last six seasons that Paul George and the Pacers have been bounced from the postseason by a LeBron James-led team, and on Sunday, James was in full command, scoring 33 points to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
James wasn’t alone in his contributions. Kyrie Irving finished his night with 28 points while the third member of Cleveland’s impressive trio, Kevin Love, did his damage on the boards, hauling in 16 rebounds.
“They’re a tough team,” Kevin Love said. “In the fourth quarter, we missed a lot of shots. We did a poor job of executing. LeBron made a big shot for us there at the end.”
Paul George, who had scored 29 or more points in each of the first three games, struggled to catch of rhythm on Sunday, finishing his night with 15 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
Much of Indiana’s offense came from Lance Stephenson, who connected on four 3-pointers and finished with 22 points, and Myles Turner, who after having three games in which his shots wouldn’t fall, found his touch, scoring 20 points and snaring nine rebounds.
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In the fourth quarter, fighting for their postseason lives, Stephenson got the crowd at The Fieldhouse back into the game by converting an and-1 on a fastbreak to bring the Pacers within six of the lead. Minutes later, it was George who got the crowd going as he drilled a 3-pointer from the wing to cut the score down to a 98-93 Cavaliers lead with 6:26 remaining.
After a Cavaliers timeout, a quick bucket from Irving was followed with a torrent of Indiana scoring, as the Pacers rallied to a 5-0 run capped by a layup from Turner, which triggered yet another Cavaliers timeout as Indiana trailed 100-98 with 4:17 remaining.
With under three minutes remaining, it was Thad Young who tied things up at 100, nailing a hook shot to knot the game.
As the clock ticked down, George tried to get a shot off in the lane, but it sailed wide. Luckily for Indiana, Young was patrolling the paint, rising up and tipping in the miss to give Indiana its first lead since they were up 28-27 in the second quarter.
But with the Cavs on offense, it was James again who played the role of hero for Cleveland, knocking down a 3-pointer to put Cleveland back up by one. With the Cavaliers up 103-102, James tried again to hit from deep, but this time his shot rimmed out. As the rebound sailed towards the corner, Irving broke on it, corralling the offensive board and setting up Kyle Korver to take free throws with 19.1 seconds left in the game. The sharpshooter hit both, putting Cleveland up 105-102 and forcing a Pacers timeout.
On their final possession, after the ball changed hands to the Cavs and was regained by the Pacers, George attempted a 3-pointer to tie, but the shot was long and James secured the rebound, spelling the end for the Pacers and their season.
“It was a fight every game,” explained Stephenson at his locker. “I don’t feel like they had one easy game. We tried our best. But every time we threw a punch they threw one right back, and that’s why they won.”
In the must-win game, Indiana started off the afternoon in control, forcing the first timeout of the game when George connected on a wide-open 3-point look to give Indiana a 13-10 lead.
For the Cavaliers, the play of Irving and James set the tempo for the visitors, scoring 14 of Cleveland’s first 16 points.
As the first quarter drew to a close, Irving and Jeff Teague traded buckets in the final moments, with each connecting on floaters as the Pacers maintained a two-point edge at the break, leading 24-22.
After not making a 3-pointer for the entire first quarter, Cleveland started to heat up from downtown, drilling three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second quarter to take a 37-32 lead with 7:55 remaining in the half.
Following a Pacers timeout, Stephenson helped spark a Pacers rally, drilling two threes to pull the score to a 38-37 Cavs lead. But Cleveland’s backup point guard, Deron Williams, was a menace for Indiana’s defense, scoring six straight Cavalier points to extend Cleveland’s lead to 43-39.
But out of a timeout, it was Stephenson who spirited the Pacers again, drilling his fourth 3-pointer of the half to cut the deficit down to just one point.
After the Pacers knotted things up at 50, James began to lock in, cutting to the basket on consecutive possessions to put the Cavaliers up 54-50. On the defensive side of the ball, James drew a charge against Myles Turner with 2:18 remaining in the half, giving Cleveland another chance to extend its lead.
Following the game being tied up at 50, Cleveland closed the half with an 8-2 run as Indiana went into the locker room with three of its best players — Paul George, Myles Turner, and Lance Stephenson — dealing with foul trouble.
With a new half came a new resolve from the Pacers, who charged back at the Cavaliers and forced a Cleveland timeout when Paul George rose up and hit from downtown, making the score a 65-63 Cavs lead just 3:41 into the third.
The Cavs, however, were able to regain control of the game, eventually outscoring the Pacers 30-25 in the third quarter to take an 11-point advantage into what would end up being the Pacers’ final quarter of basketball of the 2016-17 season.
In the fourth, the Pacers made a run at the lead — capturing it briefly — but were met with resistance by James and company at every turn. Despite outscoring the Cavaliers 25-18 over the final 12 minutes of play, it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit created by Cleveland in the second and third quarters. And even with an inspired finish and a late chance to tie, the Cavaliers finished the game at the foul line, sending the Pacers’ season to an end with a frantic finale on Sunday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“We were playing well and the energy was great, we were competing at a high level,” said Jeff Teague of the final moments. “It just didn’t go our way.”
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers held the Cavaliers to 41.1 percent shooting, but Cleveland went to free throw line 27 times, making 23 of them.
The Cavaliers had just 11 assists on the night.
Five Pacers scored in double figures, with Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson each reaching or surpassing 20 points.
Jeff Teague finished with a double-double, scoring 15 points and passing out 10 assists.
You Can Quote Me That
“I think we came out and we showed heart. It was a very difficult game emotionally. I thought our guys fought again tonight. We fought our way back in the game, took the lead. Give credit to Cleveland. They made shots, stops and got big rebounds when they needed to.” -Pacers head coach Nate McMillan
“It’s really frustrating to continue losing to the same team or same person. It’s real frustrating. It’s what I work hard for in the summers to try to help lead a team along and ultimately, it’s who I am always going to see and face. But again, we just came up short and didn’t do enough.” -Paul George
“Offensively we were not that good. We missed some shots. We didn’t play with the same spunk and pace. I thought we played with pace early on, but with two minutes to into the fourth quarter, we kind of stopped and started walking the ball up the floor. Defensively, I thought we were really good. I thought Lance (Stephenson) made some shots. That was part of our game plan to show Paul George a crowd because he’s a great player. We have to give up something. I give credit to Lance, he played great today. He made shots that kept them in the game. Without his shots that he made, we probably would have went up by 18 in the half. We did a great job on PG. We kept him to 15 points tonight. I thought we did a good job on C.J. Miles the whole series – he has been a Cavs killer since I have been here.” -Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue
- This marks the first time the Pacers have been swept in a best-of-seven series
- Indiana had 21 assists compared to 11 for the Cavaliers
- George finished the postseason averaging 28 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists
- Lance Stephenson’s 22 points were the most he’s scored with the Pacers this season
Stat of the Game
The Pacers, who finished the regular season as the NBA’s second-best free throw shooting team, made 10-of-17 free throws on Sunday afternoon. Additionally, Indiana was whistled for two technical fouls on Sunday, leading to two points for the Cavaliers.
Home Court Gift Shop Game Night Special
Primary Logo Tee – $12. Game Night Specials can be purchased in the Home Court Gift Shop or any of our souvenir stands located on all levels of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The special is also available online at PacersGear.com until midnight.
Away Game Night Special
Primary Logo T-Shirt – $12. Game Night Specials can be purchased online the day of each away game from 10:00 AM – Midnight. Order Online »
TV: ABC – Mark Jones (play-by-play), Hubie Brown (analyst), Israel Gutierrez (sideline reporter)
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: For the remainder of the season, all Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on FM 107.5 as well as AM 1070 The Fan. Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.
Construction Note: The Delaware St. entrance to the Virginia Ave. Parking Garage is no longer in operation due to the construction of the St. Vincent Center. To enter the Virginia Ave. Parking Garage, please use the entrance located at the intersection of E Maryland St. and S Alabama St.
In addition, the southbound lane of Delaware Street from Maryland to just south of the train bridge will be closed for the duration of the construction project.