Knicks Are Still In It As They Defeat Pacers 85-75 At MSG

Published on: 17th May, 2013

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JR Smith
J.R. Smith Had a comeback game with 13 points and six rebounds  | read this item

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New York – In what may have been the biggest break of this rough and tumble playoff series between the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks, the Pacers point guard, George Hill was forced to sit out tonight’s game because of a concussion he incurred in Game Four.

His absence surely had much to do with the Knicks defeating the Pacers, tonight, 85-75 in front of a wild, sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd as the Knicks didn’t have to deal with the wiry, tall, point guard who has run the Pacers offense all season. The Pacers, not a good ball-handling or shooting team, in general, missed Hill’s leadership and skills all night, tonight. And, he is unlikely to be ready to play in Game Six this Saturday when the series reverts back to Indianapolis.

The Knicks, on the very brink of their season coming to a close, were staring at a 3-1 deficit in this playoff series, coming into tonight’s game. They were not going to let it all go down the drain in front of their home fans.

In front of a sellout, screaming Madison Square Garden crowd, the New Yorkers defeated the Pacers, 85-75 to put themselves in position to get back into the series.

The Pacers now lead in games won, 3-2.

The biggest surprise of the night for the Knicks was the shooting prowess of one of their little-used bench players, Chris Copeland, who came into the game during the second quarter and proceeded to score on 4 of 6 shots from the field, including hitting 3 of 4 from beyond the three-point stripe.

The win forces the series back to Indiana for Game 6 on Saturday, which should normally be an advantage for the Pacers, playing in front of their home crowd.

However, without Hill, who suffered his concussion in the first quarter of Game 4 when he ran into a Tyson Chandler pick, they will no longer be favored. Hill is listed as day-to-day but Pacers officials are concerned that Hill, who scored 26 points on Tuesday, may not play again in the series.

That would be a tremendous break for the Knicks.

This is turning into an old-style series between these two franchises, reminiscent of the battles Indiana and the Knicks had in the 1990s when Patrick Ewing, Anthony Mason, Reggie Miller, and Rick Smits ran around in basketball shorts, pounding into each other during post-seasons. The physicality of these games has left the players with enough black and blues to make their locker room appear like an NFL clubhouse.

“It was physical across the board,” said Knicks coach, Mike Woodson. “They were physical and I thought we were very physical, too. I thought they came up with more loose balls and then we picked it up in the second half.”

Carmelo Anthony decided if he was going to go down with his team, he was going to go down shooting the basketball as much as possible. He took 28 shots in the game, hitting on 12 of them to lead the Knicks with 28 points.

J.R. Smith Had a comeback game with 13 points and six rebounds

If the Knicks to come back from their 3-1 deficit in games to win this series, Chandler’s hard screen on Hill could well be seen as the turning point of the series. Although Hill scored 26 points in the Pacers win on Tuesday, he had been complaining of headaches for the past two days and was ruled out four hours before tip-off.

If Hill is unable to play in Game 6, the Pacers will be at a distinct disadvantage. The Pacers don’t have another player capable of handling the ball and running the offense as proficiently as Hill does, from his point guard position.

“He is a big part of the team,” said Lance Stephenson, who was asked by coach Frank Vogel to pick up some of the point guard responsibilities, tonight. “Just by him being on the floor, creating and being aggressive, it’s a loss for us.”

The Pacers’ Vogel would not use the loss of Hill as an excuse, as much as he has a right to do so.

“I think we have plenty to beat the Knicks, with or without George Hill,” said Vogel. “The guys we have in uniform have to play better.”

Video of Lance Stephenson Post-Game Locker Room:

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