The Indiana Pacers finally figured it out.
When given the chance to take command of a playoff series, they can’t give it back. On Tuesday night, they didn’t.
George Hill scored 26 points and Paul George had 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, leading the Pacers past the New York Knicks, 93-82 and to within one win of their first conference finals appearance since 2004.
”We wanted it,” George said. ”For us to come out with that edge, still, after being up 2-1 and being on our floor for Game 4, for us to be up and ready and have an edge to play, it just speaks to how focused we are right now.” …
The Pacers were strong defensively again, had another big rebounding advantage (54-36) and never really let the Knicks challenge them in the second half. They can wrap up the series Thursday night in New York.
Desperate New York tried everything to change the script. Nothing worked.
Kenyon Martin played 29 minutes and J.R. Smith logged 31 1/2 despite missing practice Sunday and Monday because they were ill. Guard Iman Shumpert started even with a sore and swollen left knee that had the Knicks so worried they brought an orthopedic doctor to Indy to examine it Tuesday. The doctor determined there was no structural damage.
Amare Stoudemire was called for four fouls in 11-plus minutes in his second game back since March 7 and had only four points and four rebounds.
NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony finished with 24 points before fouling out with 2 minutes left in the game. He took only four shots in the fourth quarter and was held without a basket over the final 12 minutes for the second straight game.
Smith, the NBA’s top sixth man, scored 19 points, most coming in a futile attempt to rally his team late.
– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press