Down 25 at half time, the Cavaliers come back to punk Indiana in their house 119 to 114 to take a 3-0 lead in their series: so the obvious question. Biggest choke job ever. Or best comeback in NBA playoff history. Yes.
It’s both: credit to Cleveland; LeBron was unbelievable. And so was the Cavs’ second unit that was raining in three’s and bringing Cleveland back while Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were on the bench the entire fourth quarter.
But a comeback like that isn’t possible unless the other guy goes into the tank and chokes out. And the Pacers did. So that’s not just a case of Cleveland ripping it from them as opposed to Indiana giving it to them. It’s both. Cleveland only gets credit for ripping it if Indiana shows up and plays huge. And they didn’t. Well, for a half they did. And then instead of coming out in the second half and choking them out when they have to, they got soft, panicked and melted down, suffering easily the worst loss in Pacer history.
You’re at home, up 25 at halftime, in a must win game, two of their best players on the bench for the entire fourth quarter, with a chance to actually make this series and you flat out choke. That’s unforgivable.
And that’s going to stick to this team, and this organization for a long, long time. Never mind winning the series, that was never going to happen. Now, we just have to see if the Pacers have enough pride and heart to at least make everyone get on a plane again or go back to Cleveland. But after seeing them lay down the way they did in the second half, and seeing how they looked walking off the floor, I wouldn’t bet on it. Good luck ever shaking that choke job.
But again, that was both a catastrophic choke and an epic comeback. Look, the Cavs still aren’t playing championship level defense. They allowed 74 points in the first half! So clearly, they’re not throwing the switch defensively. They don’t have the personnel or mentality to lock guys teams up. Or get those huge defensive stops that you need this time of year. But it may not matter. Because as bad as there are defensively, they’re just that explosive offensively. Better than any of the crews LeBron has ever run with in Cleveland. Statistically, better than anything he rolled with in Miami. And when they’re rolling the way they are now offensively, no one in the east is any threat to them. Especially when he’s attack the rack, and finding all his sharpshooters on kickouts. They can’t beat Golden State defending people the way they are now. And maybe not San Antonio either. But they can outscore anyone in the east. And that’s obviously their plan. That and having LeBron get the other 11 guys on his back and just drag them to them back to the finals
Seriously I cannot believe the way these guys laid down in the second half. Because in the first half, they were going to run them right out of the guy, with Lance Stephenson knocking down threes and screaming this is my bleeping house! Right, Lance. And LeBron just came in, ate your grub, slammed your beers, and napped it out in your bed. And while there’s technically a Game 4 set for Sunday, there’s really no recovering from that choke job, because the Pacers are already lying face up on the table in the morgue. And the King put them there.