Pacers squander another one late, Myles Turner takes blame — ‘I forgot the play’

The Pacers had the opportunity to earn a meaningful win against the favorite in the Eastern Conference.

Turner recorded his first double-double in a loss to the Cavs with 14 points and 10 rebounds. [Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Turner recorded his first double-double in a loss to the Cavs with 14 points and 10 rebounds. [Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

With the game tied at 96 between the Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Pacers had the ball with 20.7 seconds left.

Sounds familiar, right? The Pacers were in nearly the exact same situation on Saturday in their overtime win, their only overtime win this season (1-5), over Denver.

Out of a timeout, Monta Ellis pounded the ball near mid-court for 17 seconds while waiting for a ball screen. Myles Turner was supposed to set a down screen and then a cross screen to free up Paul George. Finally, Ellis took it upon himself and chucked up a shot before time expired.

Not even close. And the Pacers went into overtime for the second straight game.

Afterwards, a 101-96 Pacers loss, the Pacers 2015 first-round pick — who’s just 19, by the way — showed maturity when he took the blame for that ugly final play at the end of regulation.

“That’s all on me,” he said. “I forgot the play.”

“I’m really frustrated about it but it’s behind me now. Just got to move past it. That was rough on me. I put my teammates in a bad position by doing that.”

You have to appreciate Turner’s candidness. He didn’t sugarcoat it one bit, like some individuals in that locker room may have. The rookie owned up to, apologized to his teammates, and now wants to put it behind him, as he should.

Frank Vogel, being the head coach that he is, tried to take the blame, too.

“We forgot to set a screen. That’s my fault,” Vogel said. “I’ve got a 19-year-old kid in there in a big moment and I’ve got to make sure he knows exactly what his assignment is. The kid played a spectacular game and not executing that last play is on me.

“I’ve got a young kid in my lineup in a crunch-time situation, I’ve got to grab him, look him in the eye and make sure he knows exactly what to do. So it’s on me.”

As the team went into the huddle before the overtime session, several players and coach Vogel were seen talking with Turner, who posted his first career double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) and had four blocks.

“They said, ‘You got to lock in, man. You were late. In situations like that, you have to lock in,'” Turner recalled.

Still, the Pacers had a chance to win in overtime.

Turner quickly made up for his mistake by knocking down a 17-footer, blocking LeBron James’ shot again, and then drilling a 20-footer. He sat out the middle three minutes, and then returned for the final 13.7 seconds.

Again, the Pacers struggled with their late-game execution.

“Everyone has their growing pains,” said Paul George, who finished with 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting, said of Turner. “The best thing about it is we’re going to stay with him, of course. He’s just bringing to much to the table for us. It’s just a simple rookie mistake coming down to execution.”

Turner did have a ferocious slam, and a big-time rejection of LeBron at the rim.

The Pacers trailed by 11 at the half, 60-49. They then outscored the Cavaliers by 15 in the third quarter to a four-point lead into the final frame. Entering the game, they were 21-4 with a lead entering the fourth quarter.

Solomon Hill played a key role off the bench, reaching double-figures (10) for the second time this season and grabbing six rebounds in 20 minutes.

Monta Ellis, who primarily handled the ball late, was 4-for-12 and turned it over four times. The story, though, is yet again how the Pacers had a chance but coughed it up.

Come April — heck, even now — the Pacers are going to look back and wonder how many wins they would have if they ran through the finish line and finished games out.

Still, they did it without Ian Mahinmi, who continues to miss time with a sore lower back, and Rodney Stuckey who won’t return before the All-Star break.

It would have been a terrific win over the top team in the Eastern Conference and their third straight victory. Instead, the Cavaliers ended a steak of 10 consecutive losses at Bankers Life Fieldhouse going back to 2010.

The Pacers play their next two on the road (Brooklyn and Atlanta), and then three in a row at home (Detroit, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte) before the All-Star break.

One Response to Pacers squander another one late, Myles Turner takes blame — ‘I forgot the play’
  1. […] all on me,” the 19-year-old told Vigilant Sports . “I forgot the […]

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