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INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) – The All-NBA Team were announced on Thursday and Paul George’s name was no where to be found, casting doubt on his future with the Indiana Pacers.

By not being voted onto one of the three All-NBA squads by the NBA media, the Pacers cannot offer George a “super max” extension that would be worth $210 million over five years. That deal would make George, who’s set to be a free agent next summer, the highest-paid player in the NBA. The super max deal would also be $75 million more than any other team could guarantee George – a relatively new construct in the NBA that’s goal is keeping superstars in the same market for big chunks of their career.

Instead, the Pacers can offer George a smaller extension, or he could just wait until free agency next summer and sign with the team of his choosing. The Pacers might also be willing to trade George for fear that he wouldn’t re-sign with them next summer, essentially losing George with nothing to show for him.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The questions started less than an hour after the Indiana Pacers season officially ended.

Will Paul George commit to playing for the Pacers beyond next season? Will Jeff Teague re-sign with his hometown team? What does Indiana really need to become a championship contender?

Nobody wants to learn the answers more than George.

“If we want to win, (Cleveland is) a team that we have to work toward stacking up against,” he said following Sunday’s 106-102 loss to the defending champion Cavaliers. “At some point, if we want to be serious as a team, we’ve got to look at how we can match up against them.”

Obviously, that starts with George. At 26, the four-time All-Star has already played in two conference finals, won an Olympic gold medal – and been eliminated in the playoffs by LeBron James’ team four of the last six years. George is signed through next season and Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird has already promised George would get a max deal.

If George makes an all-NBA team, as expected, the value of that deal could jump by roughly $75 million.

That’s a lot of money to leave on the table if he decides to test free agency when his contract expires following the 2017-18 season.

But there was enough concern that George might go anyway that there were rumors he could be dealt at the trade deadline. And lingering uncertainty could affect what the Pacers do this offseason and there will certainly be more trade speculation about George, with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers likely in any discussion.

So far, George isn’t saying anything about his thoughts.

“I’m not even at that point yet,” he said.

The one thing Indiana can’t afford – getting nothing in return for their best player.

Bird declined to discuss George on Monday while in New York to deliver the Pacers’ bid to host the 2021 All-Star Game. Bird’s problem is this: He can’t do much until the NBA draft, which is two months away, or until free agency opens in July.

That gives George roughly two months to produce an answer.

While George hasn’t said what he wants to see from the organization, he seemed to enjoy being reunited with longtime friend and 2010 draft mate Lance Stephenson. And re-signing Teague may help, too.

But will it be enough to convince George the Pacers are moving in the right direction?

“You take a year like last year, with that group, we felt like if you added a couple pieces to that group we’d have something again,” George said. “We’ll see what moves the team makes and how it stacks up going forward.”

Teague has repeatedly told reporters all season how much he’s enjoyed playing in his hometown. He was the only player on the Pacers roster to start all 86 games this season.

Bird made it clear last summer after acquiring Teague that the Pacers were trying to sign him to a contract extension. But there’s still no deal and now Teague is on the verge of becoming a free agent and getting a lucrative contract because of changes to the salary cap.

“I love Indiana, man, you know me – born and raised. I’ve got the tattoos on my arm. I’ve wanted to play for the Pacers my whole life,” he said.

Many expected the Pacers to be one of the top four teams in the East after making so many moves last season.

Instead, under first-year coach Nate McMillan, Indiana never really got in sync with the exception of a seven-game winning streak at midseason and the five-game winning streak that got them into the playoffs. He doesn’t anticipate going anywhere this off-season.

“I do have a contract for next season,” he said.

The Cavs’ series exposed one significant flaw in Myles Turner’s game – strength. Turner got shoved around inside through each of the first three games before finishing the series with a flurry Sunday.

McMillan made it clear even before Indiana’s final playoff game that Turner must get stronger so he can be a more physical player next season.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Paul George’s stone face and somber tone reflected the mood of the Indiana Pacers.

With their season on the brink, they must win – or go home.

Despite pushing defending champion Cleveland to the edge in three straight playoff games, Indiana now finds itself in danger of becoming the first Pacers team to be swept in a best-of-seven series.

“That’s the most frustrating thing, we could at least be up 2-1 and really be in the driver’s seat in this series,” George said one day after Indiana blew a 26-point lead and lost for the third time in six days. “We haven’t taken advantage of the opportunities we’ve had, and we’re paying the price for it right now.”

Indiana’s inability to close out games this year dumped the team to the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and a dreaded series with the defending NBA champions. Last year, the same problem resulted in a first-round exit, courtesy of Toronto.

But those examples pale in comparison to the hard lessons they’ve been getting from LeBron James, who has beaten Indiana in seemingly every way possible this series.

In Game 1, James double-teamed George in the closing seconds, forcing the four-time All-Star to pass the ball. C.J. Miles then missed an open 14-footer for the win.

In Game 2, James helped the Cavs hold on for a six-point win after setting a screen to free Kyrie Irving for an uncontested layup that extended Cleveland’s lead to seven with 29.6 seconds left.

In Game 3, James had a triple-double as he almost single-handedly rallied the Cavs from a 25-point halftime deficit. He scored 28 of his 41 points in the second half as Cleveland completed the largest second-half comeback in playoff history – all while Irving and Kevin Love watched the fourth quarter from the bench.

The reward: A one-day break before James and the Cavs try to deliver a knockout punch.

“We were on point defensively, and offensively we knew exactly what we wanted to do,” James said. “The best way to get offense is to defensively create missed shots. We did a better job contesting shots and getting body on body (in the second half). The first half was not us, but they made us not be us.”

The Cavs are now chasing their seventh straight postseason win, their 11th consecutive first-round win since James’ return. James needs one more victory to become the first player to win 21 consecutive first-round games since the current playoff format began in 1984. He’s tied with three former Los Angeles Lakers – Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson and James Worthy.

It would be the fourth time in six years that James’ team ended the Pacers’ season. George and Lance Stephenson are the only players who have endured every one of those losses, perhaps none more painful than Thursday’s.

The evidence was on display during Friday’s practice, which was virtually devoid of the laughter and chatter that existed just two days earlier.

“I think they’re pissed off that we allowed that game to get away and we should be,” coach Nate McMIllan said. “We need to learn a lesson from that team. It’s a 48-minute game, and to win we had to come out (of halftime) with even more urgency against that team and we didn’t do that. It wasn’t so much what they did as much as it was what we didn’t do.”

Now the question is how the Pacers will respond to a historic collapse.

No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. But after everything that has happened over the past week, Indiana’s more difficult challenge may be coping with the fact they’ve been so close that they could be leading 2-1 or 3-0 heading into Sunday.

“I’m not a moral victory guy, especially now after three games in a row,” Miles said. “We felt like we could compete against anybody we were matched up with in the playoffs. So it’s not about being close. Nobody’s ever won a ring by being close.”

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – LeBron James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers set an NBA postseason record by erasing a 25-point halftime deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 119-114 on Thursday night and take a 3-0 lead.

James passed Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on the NBA’s career playoff scoring list and tied another NBA record by winning his 20th consecutive first-round game.

The Cavaliers will try to sweep the series Sunday.

The incredible rally ruined Paul George’s big night. He had 36 points, a playoff career-high 15 rebounds and nine assists.

Cleveland trailed by 26 in the first half and was still down 74-49 at halftime. The largest halftime deficit overcome to win a playoff game had been 21 points by Baltimore against Philadelphia in 1948.

James scored 13 points in the third quarter to get the Cavs within 91-84.

James now has 5,669 points, 29 ahead of Bryant. He also matched three other ex-Los Angeles Lakers – Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper and James Worthy – for most consecutive first-round wins.

This comeback began with a second straight devastating third-quarter punch from the Cavs.

After Cleveland cut the deficit to 77-62 and then watched Indiana extend the margin to 20, Cleveland finished the quarter on a 17-4 spurt to make it 91-84.

Things only got worse for the Pacers.

George’s 3 with 5:15 to go gave Indiana a 104-103 lead – its last of the game. James answered with a layup out of a timeout and the Cavs never trailed again.

It’s only the second time in the Pacers’ NBA history they have lost the first three games in a best-of-seven series. Indiana has never endured a four-game sweep since joining the NBA.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana Pacers star Paul George is attacking critics of his recent postgame comments.

George calls the notion that he threw teammates under the bus “completely ignorant.” The four-time All-Star insists he was only trying to motivate other players to perform better after losing the first two games in their first-round playoff series against Cleveland.

The questions began after George criticized C.J. Miles for taking the final shot in a one-point loss in Game 1 at Cleveland. George said he should have taken the shot.

George also called out Lance Stephenson and Myles Turner following a Game 2 loss.

Inside the locker room, it appears everything was understood. Stephenson and coach Nate McMillan say there were no hurt feelings.

Game 3 is Thursday at Indiana.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Paul George finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds, Jeff Teague added 19 points and the Indiana Pacers clinched a playoff spot Wednesday with a 104-86 victory over Atlanta.

The Pacers completed the regular season on a five-game winning streak to earn the Eastern Conference’s No. 7 seed. They will face Cleveland in the opening round.

Ersan Ilyasova scored 15 points and Jose Calderon had 12 on a night the Hawks rested five of their top six players. Thabo Sefolosha played 23 minutes but didn’t score as Atlanta saw its four-game winning streak end. The Hawks will face Washington in the opening round.

Indiana took advantage of the backups by pulling out to a 22-15 lead after one quarter and starting the third quarter on a 9-2 run to turn a seven-point into a 59-45 cushion. The Hawks never seriously challenged again.

The Pacers enter the playoffs as the hottest team in the East.

Indiana was so far ahead at the end of the third quarter, 84-68, coach Nate McMillan could have given his best players some extra rest. Instead, he played it safe, stuck to the rotation and kept the pressure on Atlanta, which got as close as 95-84 with 5:15 to play.

But the Pacers finally closed it out with a 7-2 spurt – on a night they wound up needing to win.

Chicago and Miami both started the final day of the regular season one game behind Indiana, though both teams had tiebreakers over the Pacers. When the Bulls and Heat both won, Indiana had to win to make it in, too.

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Paul George scored 17 of his 27 points in the opening quarter and the Indiana Pacers inched closer to clinching a berth in the NBA playoffs with a 120-111 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

Thaddeus Young added 20 points, Myles Turner scored 18 and Kevin Seraphin had 17 to give the Pacers (41-40) their fourth straight victory and push them one win away from guaranteeing a playoff spot for the sixth time in the past seven years.

The 76ers (28-53) lost for the seventh straight time and finished with a home record of 17-24. They conclude their fifth straight season out of the playoffs Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot paced the Sixers with 24 points and Richaun Holmes had 17 points.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Nikola Jokic had 31 points, 17 rebounds and a big 3-pointer to turn back a late Indiana rally, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Pacers 125-117 on Friday night.

Wilson Chandler scored 12 of his 24 points in the opening quarter, and Danilo Gallinari added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets.

Jokic had 21 points and 12 rebounds by halftime, helping Denver open an 11-point lead, but Indiana staged a furious rally in the final minutes to trim a 23-point deficit to five before Jokic’s 3-pointer with 1:28 remaining.

All-Star forward Paul George scored 27 points for Indiana, while Jeff Teague had 21 and Myles Turner added 20.

Denver made 40-of-43 free throws compared to Indiana’s eight of 11.

The Nuggets (35-37) have won nine of 13 against the Pacers (36-36) in Indiana and have a 20-4 edge in the series since 2004-05. That includes a season sweep this season. Denver routed Indiana 140-112 on Jan. 12 in London.

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MIAMI (AP) – Hassan Whiteside scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Dion Waiters added 22 points and the red-hot Miami Heat pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Indiana Pacers 113-95 on Saturday night.

Goran Dragic added 21 points and James Johnson had 15 for Miami, which outscored Indiana 30-16 in the fourth. The Pacers played most of the second half without All-Star forward Paul George, who was ejected after getting two technicals on separate plays early in the third quarter.

Myles Turner scored 18 points and Jeff Teague added 16 for Indiana. George had 10 points in 19 minutes.

It was the 16th win in the last 18 games for the surging Heat, who moved within 1 1/2 games of idle Detroit for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference. Miami also topped 100 points for the 16th consecutive game, extending the franchise record.

George has appeared in 20 games at Miami, with the Pacers going 2-18 in those – including losses in each of the last 11. And he left this one likely more frustrated than usual in Miami.

George was ejected for the third time this season after he and Heat rookie Rodney McGruder – who was guarding George for much of the night – had some exchanges early in the third quarter. The first came with 10:45 left, when both were assessed technicals after pushing and shoving. The next technical for George came just 1:56 later, issued by referee Gary Zielinski on a play that lacked any contact.

There initially seemed to be confusion, since George stayed on the court while Dragic shot the free throw for the technical. Referee Bill Kennedy confirmed with the scorer’s table that George was ejected for two techs, and after slapping hands with a few of his teammates in the bench area, the All-Star walked off without incident.

The Pacers rallied without George and briefly regained the lead, though the Heat eventually pulled away.

A 12-4 run by Miami late in the third put the Heat in control, and another 12-4 spurt early in the fourth put Miami up by 10 on Wayne Ellington’s 3-pointer with 7:35 left.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Paul George finished practice Thursday by laughing, joking and slapping hands with the same teammates he’s played with all season.

Then he took out his frustration publicly.

After almost a week of speculation about George’s future, the Pacers decided to stand pat at the trade deadline. They kept their biggest star, kept their supporting cast intact and apparently kept George out of the loop on the trade talks.

“I was kind of on the ropes just like you guys were on what was about to happen,” George told reporters. “It’s kind of a dark moment, a lot of uncertainty. That was the frustrating part. You want me to be your guy here, I thought I’d be in the loop a little more on that.”

Of course, he wasn’t completely out of touch.

While George tried to block out the noise, he acknowledged he was aware of rumors being bandied about on television, radio, social media, internet sites and newspapers.

Larry Bird, Indiana’s president of basketball operations, listened to offers and eventually decided not to make the move. He also declined George’s advice about adding more “pieces” to the Pacers’ roster this season.

Bird did not speak with reporters after watching practice.

It’s not the first time George has publicly complained about the front office. He and Bird traded barbs in the summer of 2015 when Bird asked George to play power forward. George started at that spot last season before returning to his more natural position, small forward.

The two seemed to have patched things up, and George said Wednesday that he and Bird were “on the same page.”

Now, the Pacers must wait to find out if they’ll continue to work for the same team a few more years.

George can opt out of his contract after next season, which complicated the trade talks because some people believe George would head to the Lakers if he becomes a free agent.

“That’s what people are going to think, of course. I’m from L.A., there’s ties there, there’s connections there,” George said. “But you can’t jump to conclusions based off that. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have signed the extension.”

George’s comments on ESPN radio last Friday created more confusion.

After talking about his desire to “play on a winning team” and reportedly meeting with team owner Herb Simon during All-Star weekend, George returned to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday and said he would “love to” finish his career with the Pacers.

He is staying put, for now, a relief to many of his teammates.

“If a trade happens, that’s part of business,” forward Thaddeus Young said. “We definitely all wanted him here and the good thing is that the deadline has passed now.”

Coach Nate McMillan also was focused on winning games.

“I talk to Paul about basketball and the team and where we’re at and where we need to be,” McMillan said. “That’s what we’ve been doing, is talking about how we can improve, what we can do.”

George is one of the league’s best scorers, has appeared on the league’s all-defensive team three times and was the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2013. He’s led his team to two conference finals and won an Olympic gold medal. He has a propensity for delivering on promises, like when he swore to come back better than ever after breaking his lower right leg in a horrifying scene 2 1/2 years ago.

But the Pacers need more out of George and others when they return to action Friday against Memphis. They have lost a season-high six in a row, four of those at home, and are sixth in the Eastern Conference standings.

If things don’t improve, the Pacers and George could be going through this same scenario during the offseason or before next year’s trading deadline. And if it happens again, George is hoping he’ll know more about Bird’s plans.

“I was fine with it (the rumors),” George said. “My only concern with it was having no hand in what was going on. I’m just the kind of person who likes to know what’s going on.”

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