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Pacers vs. Cavaliers: Empty possessions late in Game 1 hurt Pacers

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Three of four empty possessions down the stretch in Game 1 included no passes and twice, no shots.

NBA: Playoffs-Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The final play of Game 1 has endured plenty of scrutiny over the past two days, but it was by far the best possession the Pacers had down the stretch in their 109-108 loss to the Cavaliers.

An open 18-footer for one of your top shooters? That’ll work and would have been fantastic on one (or more) of the late-game possessions when the Pacers came up empty, twice not even producing a shot.

With 3:30 left in the game, Jeff Teague splashed a 3-ball to give the Pacers a 105-103 lead. From there, Paul George’s deep and gorgeous three-ball with 40 seconds left would be the last and only scoring by the Pacers in the final stretch. Between those two makes were four empty possessions which allowed the Cavs to creep back into the lead.

2:46 - Paul George goes iso against JR Smith with remaining four players spread out around the perimeter. PG’s contested 19-foot jumper bounce to the four Cavs under the hoop.

2:14 - Jeff Teague works against Kyrie Irving, drives into the lane but is stripped as he lifts to shoot. So this time, no pass and no shot.

1:38 - Lance Stephenson probes the defense a couple of times, then is left open behind arc, dared by Cleveland’s defense to shoot. Lance pulls the trigger and bounces the three. A third no-pass possession comes up empty.

1:05 - A better possession but poor execution as Kyrie Irving is switched on to Myles Turner who gets the ball just above the free throw line. The remaining players clear out taking their defenders with them for Turner to take advantage of the ‘mouse in the house’ situation. But Turner faces up initially and has the ball ripped from his hands. Not shot.

So in a game when the Pacers came up one bucket short, reviewing those four consecutive possessions is maddening. Combine that with catching the Cavs when they missed 13 free throws, Kyrie Irving made just one of nine three-pointers and Kyle Korver shot ZERO three-pointers and it starts making Game 2 look more daunting.

This was the main topic on the latest episode of Locked on Pacers as we look ahead to Game 2.