Pacers' McMillan: More on line than one game


Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan says it’s important for his team to come out strong against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday following the worst single-game collapse in NBA playoff history.

“We know we have a big mountain to climb. We’re not talking right now about winning the series. We’re talking about staying alive. You could a lot more than just this game if you don’t approach this game the right way,” McMillan said before Game 4 (1 p.m. ET, ABC). “… If you go out there and lay down and give them the game … you lose respect; there could be a lot of major changes. There could be a lot you could lose. The big thing is losing respect from your fan base and from fans all over.”

The Pacers will have to regroup to keep the first-round series going after they blew a 25-point halftime lead in Game 3 on Thursday.

Some of the long-term ramifications of a poor playoff showing could center on Paul George. The All-Star forward has been noncommittal about signing a lucrative contract extension with the Pacers, and he could opt out and become a free agent after the 2017-18 season.

Indiana is one loss away from being eliminated by a LeBron James team for the fourth time in six years. That includes a pair of losses to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and 2014.

“Since I came here, LeBron has been in the way of this organization — getting to the Finals when Lance [Stephenson] was here,” McMillan said. “So there are a lot of challenges for us to play for.”

The Pacers have never endured a four-game sweep in the NBA.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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