The first installment of our Gone Fishin’ series by virtue of a sweep by King James and his Cleveland Cavaliers are the Indiana Pacers. Indiana was a team that underachieved all season long and are now faced with a huge amount of uncertainty in the coming months. This was a team that Larry Bird constructed that most of us saw as a team that could make a significant turn around in the Eastern Conference with the additions of Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, and Al Jefferson. On paper, it seemed like a nice group of players that could mesh well with star, not superstar, Paul George and the versatile young big Myles Turner. Indiana started the season off slow, went on a slight streak, and then tailored off again and was on the brink of missing the playoffs until they brought back Born Ready, Lance Stephenson. After his addition, the Pacers finished the season 5-0 and the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.
During their First Round matchup with the Cavs, they lost all 4 games by a combined total of 16 points and all the blame and all the fingers need to be pointed at Paul George. In Game 1, C.J. Miles proceeded to take the game-winning shot while George stood helpless at the top of the key watching the shot not fall. Following that loss, he then complained about Miles taking the shot and that he should be the one to take the big shots for the franchise. More on that to follow. Game 2 comes around and well, when the Cavs Big 3 combine for 89 points, there is only one team in The Association that can beat them when that happens. Game 3 is where the series changed and the Pacers lost all hope. This game separated the true superstar from the wanna be. Yeah, Paul George led his team out to a 25+ point lead, but instead of him willing his team to choke the life out of the Cavaliers for a full 48 minutes, he allowed himself and his teammates to loosen up their grip and allow Cleveland to get back in the game. The real superstar, LeBron James, willed his team to come back from a large deficit with a 40 point triple-double while Paul George tried, it just wasn’t enough for his team to take Game 3. Now, early Sunday afternoon facing a 3-0 deficit, George had the opportunity to at least push the series to 5 games, but a similar ending to Game 1 loomed. With his team down 105-102 with under 2 seconds remaining, George had his chance, his chance to tie the game and send it to OT, but instead, he misses….EVERYTHING. He got the shot he wanted in Game 1 and he choked. The shot did not even draw iron.
The future of the Indiana Pacers is very murky to say the least because their future rests in the media’s hands on whether Paul George makes an All-NBA team. George makes one, it is very likely that he stays in Indianapolis, he doesn’t, Larry Bird better start making phone calls to Magic Johnson or Danny Ainge and go with a complete rebuild with the young assets He’d receive from the Lakers or Celtics.
Written By: Nyck Young