Pacers motivated by NBA planning Celtics' trophy presentation after Game 4, says Rick Carlisle

No team has ever rallied from a 3–0 deficit to win an NBA playoff series

The Indiana Pacers face a 3–0 deficit going into Monday's Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals with the Boston Celtics. No team has ever rallied from that situation to win an NBA playoff series. That probably can't be emphasized enough.

So it's certainly understandable, if not prudent, that the NBA is preparing to possibly present the Celtics with the Bob Cousy Trophy if they win the series on Monday night.

However, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is using those plans as another piece of motivation for his team to win Game 4, keep the series alive, and pursue a historic comeback.

"There's plenty of reasons to be motivated for this game [Monday]," Carlisle told reporters on Sunday afternoon, via Alex Golden.

"When you’re the head coach of an NBA team, you tend to get information on things, and one thing I just heard in the last few minutes is that the league is making logistical plans for a trophy presentation on our floor tomorrow. That’s something that I think should make our players' blood boil and our fans' blood boil.”

Watching an opponent celebrate a conference championship win and receive a trophy on their home floor would certainly be difficult to digest for the Pacers and their fans. Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown receiving an MVP trophy named after Larry Bird, now a consultant for the Pacers, would sting too.

That's especially true when Indiana could very well have won two of the series' first three games. Carlisle is right about that. Indiana could have another strong performance without Haliburton in the lineup. Maybe the Celtics will be less aggressive with a big series lead and an opportunity to clinch in Boston.

Yet how could the NBA not plan for the possibility that the Celtics will close out the series with a Game 4 victory in the Pacers' home arena? A Boston win seems even more likely with Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton listed as questionable for Monday's matchup. To not prepare for a realistic outcome would be neglectful.

Carlisle knows that, of course. This isn't disrespectful by the NBA. But he needs every bit of fuel he can generate for the Pacers. Avoiding a season-ending loss at home, in addition to an opponent's celebration, certainly provides incentive. Maybe that will be enough for one more game.