Pacers’ Unusual Turnovers Cost Them Game 1 Against Celtics

Pacers' Unusual Turnovers Cost Them Game 1 Against Celtics

Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) and Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (9) scramble for a loose ball during the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The Indiana Pacers outperformed the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, shooting better, dishing more assists, and securing more bench points. They held a five-point lead with two minutes left in the fourth quarter and a three-point lead with 10 seconds remaining. Despite this, they lost 133-128 in overtime, trailing 1-0 in the series.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged the team’s missteps, saying, “A lot of things had to go wrong for us and right for them… we gotta own it.” He blamed himself for not calling a timeout in the final seconds of regulation, which could have allowed the Pacers to advance the ball and potentially win the game.

The Pacers had 21 turnovers, losing the ball on 19.8% of their offensive possessions. This increased to 27.3% in the fourth quarter. Star player Tyrese Haliburton committed two crucial turnovers, one in the fourth quarter and another in overtime. He accepted responsibility for the loss, stating, “I had two bad turnovers that I feel like cost us the game.”

Haliburton couldn’t explain his turnover in the fourth quarter, saying, “I just dribbled the ball off my foot.” He also saw his overtime turnover as self-inflicted, despite acknowledging Jrue Holiday’s strong defense.

The Pacers’ high turnover rate was unusual for them, having only been higher twice in their 97 games this season. Carlisle described the turnovers as “hard to explain,” while Haliburton felt they were more the team’s fault than the Celtics’.

Turnovers weren’t the only issue. The Pacers committed 23 fouls, leading to 30 free throw attempts for the Celtics. Haliburton also missed a chance to take a deep 3-pointer at the end of regulation, opting for a heavily contested shot instead.

Despite being the underdogs, the Pacers’ close loss can be seen as encouraging. Carlisle described the team as “tough-minded and resilient,” which they’ll need to be for their next game on Thursday.

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