There I am, sitting in my living room as Wesley Matthews is about to inbound the ball for a potential game-tying shot. I’m feeling good about the Pacers’ chances, even though the game slipped away from them in the fourth quarter.
Instead of tossing it into Bojan Bogdanovic, Matthews decided to launch the ball into the stands to one lucky Celtics fan. Just like that, the game was over.
Most of the time, returning home in a playoff series is a reason for hope, especially with a chance to tie the series in front of your raucous fans. This time, however, it feels different.
The Pacers had their chance, in both Game 1 and Game 2. The Celtics clearly weren’t playing their best basketball (they haven’t been for most of the season), but the Pacers put themselves in a hole late in both games. In the opening contest, it was scoring only eight points in the third quarter. Wednesday night? Only twelve in the fourth, while Boston put up 31 to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
Even though they blew two playoff games in a row, there’s no reason to doubt that the Pacers will be able to stretch this series to six games or so. No one will blame them for the loss (losing your best player midway through the season will give you a pass), but it will still hurt, especially after seeing them lose control in the closing quarter.
Myles Turner has been a complete no-show in these two games. Yes, he’s made some nice defensive recoveries and had a couple big blocks, but it was too little, too late. Myles is reverting back to his performance against Cleveland in last year’s postseason, where he averaged 12.4 points and 5.5 rebounds against LeBron and company. This time around, Turner’s only contributing 6.5 points and 5.5 boards against the Celtics. I get that Al Horford is a great defender, but just think: if Myles scores 16 points, the Pacers win Game 2.
Tonight, I think the Pacers will take Game 3. It’ll be good to get back in front of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse faithful and feel that playoff atmosphere again. Whether or not Indy can extend their season even further remains to be seen.