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Jeff Teague: Pacers are now ‘playing for pride’

Jeff Teague, Kyrie Irving

The Indiana Pacers squandered their best possible chance at making it a series after blowing a 26-point lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Thursday night’s Game 3. Point guard Jeff Teague is so aware of this reality that he plans to suit up for Game 4 with only one thing on his mind — honor.

“It sucks. We had them. That was our game and we lost it,” Teague told reporters reflecting on the team’s Game 3 performance. “We’re playing for pride now. We’re all competitors in here. We all believe in one another. We ain’t getting swept. We’re gonna move on and come out ready to play.”

As soon as the word “sweep” comes into mind for a team, they’re about as deep in the fryer as they can be — and the Pacers have no better chance to salvaging a win than in Sunday’s Game 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“Here we are up (25) to start the second half and a chance to put our foot on their throat and we came out relaxed,” star forward Paul George said, per Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star. “We didn’t pressure up on the ball and make anything tough. I thought they, again, had stretches where they were just walking into 3-pointers. You can’t do that.”

George has put up a valiant effort in his three games this series, but it hasn’t proved enough for his team despite averaging 32.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and a steal per game.

The Cavs are unlikely to have another awful night from Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love like they did in Game 3, combining for a feeble 23 points in 8-of-29 shooting from the field.

The Pacers will need to pull from within to salvage a win at home, but it won’t happen unless a secondary leader steps up when it counts the most and gives George some help at both ends.

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