3 positives, 2 negatives in Pacers In-Season Tournament win vs. Cavaliers

Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers /
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Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers /

Negatives: Allowed massive third-quarter comeback

The Indiana Pacers played well for 75% of the game tonight. Yes, 75%. While Indiana had a killer first half and ended the game strong in the fourth, there was one quarter that was pretty hard to watch as a Pacers fan, and that was the dreaded third quarter.

The third-quarter Pacers have been a phenomenon for years now, stretching back to the Victory Oladipo era, where Indiana would start to show fatigue and tire out by the third quarter, often either keeping their starters in for too long, or not subbing them in sooner.

While these third-quarter issues haven’t as relevant in recent years, with the Pacers having enough offensive firepower to stretch through an entire game, they do creep up every now and then, and tonight was one of those nights.

Despite going into the half with a 17-point lead, I have stated before that no lead is safe with the Indiana Pacers, as the team has a tendency to take their foot off the gas and coast after getting a big lead, and that is precisely what they did in the third quarter, slacking off on defense.

They also weren’t able to find the bottom of the net on offense. Indiana shot 36% from the field and a disgusting 25% from three in the third quarter, while the Cavaliers capitalized off their shortcomings, shooting 68.4% from the field and 50% from three en route to outscoring the Pacers 34-18 in the quarter, even taking the lead at times after being down 17 to start the quarter.

If this was the first time the Pacers have done this, it would not be too much of a problem, but as this is a recurring problem with them, stretching back years, it does seem like it should be taken care of now, especially with a whole new team and head coach. Perhaps Rick Carlisle needs to tell the team to keep their foot on the gas until the end.