June 23, 2024

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NBA Playoffs: Pacers lock up Knicks to force Game 7

NBA Playoffs: Pacers lock up Knicks to force Game 7

The Indiana Pacers will get a seventh game against the New York Knicks.

Behind a solid defensive effort and 25 points from Pascal Siakam, Indiana defeated the Knicks 116-103 in Game 6 on Friday to take the series back to New York. The winner-takes-all match is scheduled to take place on Sunday at 3:30 PM ET (ABC).

The seventh game will be the first in Madison Square since 1995, when the Knicks lost to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, 11, drives to the basket past Indiana Pacers forward Obi Toppin, left, during the first half of Game 6 in their second-round NBA playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Indianapolis.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Jalen Brunson didn’t have a good time against the Pacers in Game 6. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Friday was a case of the usual suspects for the Pacers doing what they needed to do to survive in front of the home crowd. Siakam made 11 of 21 shooting, in addition to seven rebounds and five assists, while Tyrese Haliburton had 15 points and nine assists. TJ McConnell was once again a difference-maker off the bench, scoring 15 points.

Miles Turner also did this:

Then Obi Toppin did this:

Indiana really shined on defense, most notably limiting Jalen Brunson, who entered Friday averaging 33.9 points per game in the postseason. Brunson still managed to score 31 points, but he was just 8 of 22 from the field entering the fourth quarter. New York did everything it could to help him, but the Pacers kept him off balance until garbage time.

What added to the Knicks’ problem was goalkeeper Josh Hart leaving the game in the fourth quarter due to abdominal pain. New York hopes he – as well as one other player – can play in Game 7.

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With the series now back in New York, the biggest X-factor is the player who hasn’t appeared since Game 2.

Knicks guard OG Anunoby has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of Game 2, but he is back. It said Possibly on Sunday. He can’t come back soon enough for the Knicks, who have won both of Anunoby’s games and have since lost three of four.

The Knicks acquired Anunoby at the trade deadline, a move that tightened their rotation and helped turn them into one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The team went 20-3 in games Anunoby played, but elbow surgery sidelined him for much of the second half.