lance stephenson

Lance Stephenson scored nine of his playoff career-high 23 points during a late 11-2 run Saturday night, leading the Indiana Pacers past the New York Knicks, 106-99 and into the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004.

The New York native also had 10 rebounds and the Pacers were spurred by the return of point guard George Hill two days after he was diagnosed with a concussion.

Next up is a rematch with Miami, the team that eliminated Indiana last season. Game 1 will be Wednesday at Miami.

Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points and Iman Shumpert had 19 for New York.

Indiana is 6-0 at home in the playoffs, but this one sure wasn’t easy.

Indiana trailed 92-90 with 5:43 left in the game. The Pacers rallied after Roy Hibbert blocked Anthony’s dunk attempt and Stephenson scored on a layup that started the decisive spurt…

George had 23 points and West finished with 17. Hill was just 2 of 10 from the field in his return but scored 12 points, had five rebounds and four assists…

The Knicks were 18 of 18 from the free throw line.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press