INDIANAPOLIS — For the fourth game in a row the Indiana Pacers had the opportunity to pull out a close victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. And for the fourth game in a row, LeBron James ripped it away.
With a 106-102 Game 4 loss to the defending champions, the 2016-17 campaign came to an end for the Pacers, who were swept out of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
The game was not without drama, as Indiana stormed back from a 12-point third quarter deficit to take a 102-100 lead with less than two minutes remaining. James answered with what turned out to be a game-winning 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of Myles Turner sucking the life out of Bankers Life Fieldhouse once and for all.
“I got the switch off on Myles Turner and he just had to give me something where I felt like I could get my shot off,” James said of the play. “Once I saw his hands drop I knew I had the shot.”
With their backs against the wall and facing elimination, Indiana battled all afternoon. Lance Stephenson led the team with 22 points off the bench, trying to pick up the slack for Paul George, who struggled through a 5-for-21 shooting performance.
“Just a rough night, that’s all it is,” George said. “Just a slow night for me to get a rhythm.”
The sweep marks the fourth time in the last six years that the Pacers were knocked out of the playoffs by a LeBron James-led team. Indiana was dismissed by Miami three consecutive times from 2012-14.
“It’s real frustrating to continue losing to the same team or same person,” George added, “it’s real frustrating.”
The end of the season brings about several questions about the future of the organization, including who among the front office, coaching staff and players will return next season.
Neither George nor Pacers head coach were in a mood to discuss future plans after the game, both saying they would wait until after the team’s exit meetings to comment.
Among the decisions needing to be made this off-season is the future of Jeff Teague, who will be a free agent after his first season in Indiana. C.J. Miles has a player option for next season, while Glenn Robinson III and Lavoy Allen have team options for 2017-18.
Indiana will pick seventeenth in the NBA Draft, scheduled for this June.
Watch for ISR’s Pacers Season Wrapup at the beginning of next week.
Austin Miller is the Indiana Pacers beat reporter for the Indiana Sports Report and student at Butler University and is recognized as an accredited member of the media and has full media access. Follow @MillerTimeXII and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter for Pacers coverage all season long.
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