Pacers Notes: Game 1 Loss, Haliburton, Turner, Carlisle

Numerous late-game mistakes cost the Pacers a chance to take an early lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN. Coach Rick Carlisle told reporters that “a lot of things had to go wrong for us and right for them” for the Celtics to escape with a victory in Tuesday’s Game 1, but as Collier details, that’s exactly what happened.

Indiana held a three-point lead with 27.1 seconds left in regulation when Tyrese Haliburton accidentally dribbled the ball off his foot for a turnover. After a defensive stop, the Pacers had a chance to close out the game with free throws, but they gave up the ball again on an errant inbounds pass, setting the stage for Jaylen Brown‘s three-pointer that forced overtime.

Pascal Siakam said he intended to foul before the final shot, but Brown was squared up when he caught the ball and Siakam didn’t want to risk giving sending him to the line for three shots.

“We showed our age a little bit tonight,” Myles Turner said. “Being a youthful team and being in this high stakes of a game, those uncharacteristic mistakes just made their way out.”

There’s more on the Pacers:

  • Haliburton is optimistic despite the meltdown because his team proved it can compete with the heavily favored Celtics, relays Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The All-Star guard noted that the Pacers haven’t won any of their playoff series openers, but they found a way to get past Milwaukee and New York. “We know we can play with these guys,” Haliburton said. “We know we belong. I think it’s discouraging just because of the plays that that happened down the stretch. We feel like we were in position to win the game and just didn’t win the game.”
  • One obvious advantage for Indiana was Turner’s dominance with Kristaps Porzingis unavailable due to injury, notes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Turner had 18 points, four rebounds and four assists in the first half against Al Horford and Luke Kornet before Boston started guarding him with wings after halftime. “Usually when fives are on me, that’s usually my time to get loose and what not,” Turner said. “Teams pick up on that and start guarding me with other men, threes or fours and sometimes guarding me with guards. That’s when I have to make my way in the paint and make my hay there. There were definitely some more things I could have done in the homestretch to be more aggressive.”
  • The Pacers were unhappy with the imbalance of fouls as they shot just three free throws in regulation, per Joe Vardon of the Athletic. Indiana wound up with 10 total attempts from the line compared to Boston’s 30, but Carlisle, who was fined $35K for criticizing the officiating in the Knicks series, was careful with his post-game comments. “My daughter already has to sit out one semester of college — I can’t have her take a whole year off,” he joked.
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