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Game Preview: Pacers vs Knicks (Game 6)

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Friday, May 17 at Time TBD at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Game Preview

The Pacers know what they have to do Friday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. They must win Game 6 against the Knicks to extend their season and force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday in New York, where the winner would advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Indiana is facing elimination for the first time this postseason after dropping Game 5 on Tuesday night in New York, 121-91. The Knicks ran away from the Pacers at Madison Square Garden, outhustling and outplaying the Blue & Gold. Head coach Rick Carlisle said his young team learned “a hard lesson” from Tuesday’s performance.

The Knicks had 29 more shot attempts than Indiana thanks to their dominance on the boards in Game 5. New York outrebounded the Pacers 53-29 overall and 20-5 on the offensive glass, outscoring Indiana 62-36 in points in the paint and 26-9 in second-chance points. Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein had 12 offensive rebounds alone.

Knicks All-Star guard Jalen Brunson had another impressive performance, scoring 44 points and dishing out seven assists, but the Pacers aided New York’s offense by committing 18 turnovers (and only forcing nine).

The good news for the Pacers is that the series is shifting back to Indianapolis, where the Blue & Gold are undefeated in the playoffs and beat the Knicks twice last season. In fact, Game 4 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday was pretty much a mirror image of Game 5, as the Pacers led 34-14 after the first quarter and stretched the margin as high as 43 points in a 121-89 victory.

After the two teams traded blowout victories, it would not be surprising if Game 6 is more tightly contested like the first three games of the series. The Knicks are trying to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2000, while the Pacers are hoping to extend their season and have a chance to move on to the third round for the first time in a decade.

The Knicks made some counters in Game 5, as head coach Tom Thibodeau elected to start 6-1 guard Miles McBride instead of 6-8 forward Precious Achiuwa. The smaller McBride took on the primary assignment of guarding Pacers All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, picking him up full court for most of the night. Haliburton finished with 13 points and five assists on nine shot attempts, his lowest scoring total since he tallied just six points in Game 1.

Haliburton responded well after Game 1, averaging 29.7 points over his next three games. The 24-year-old — who is playing in his first playoffs — vowed to be better in Game 6.

All season long, the Pacers have played some of their best basketball coming off a disappointing result. How Haliburton and his teammates respond to adversity this time will determine whether or not their season will continue.

Projected Starters

Pacers: G – Tyrese Haliburton, G – Andrew Nembhard, F – Aaron Nesmith, F – Pascal Siakam, C – Myles Turner

Knicks: G – Jalen Brunson, G – Miles McBride, F – Donte DiVincenzo, F – Josh Hart, C – Isaiah Hartenstein

Injury Report

Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton – questionable (lower back spasms/sacral contusion/right ankle sprain), Bennedict Mathurin – out (right shoulder labral tear)

Knicks: OG Anunoby – out (left hamstring strain), Bojan Bogdanovic – out (left foot surgery), Julius Randle – out (right shoulder surgery), Mitchell Robinson – out (left ankle stress injury)

Last Meeting

May 14, 2024: The Knicks won every quarter en route to a 121-91 win in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden.

Jalen Brunson scored a series-high 44 points on 18-of-35 shooting and dished out seven assists to lead the Knicks to victory. Josh Hart added 18 points and 11 rebounds, Alec Burks scored 18 off the bench, and Miles McBride scored 17 points.

Pascal Siakam led Indiana with 22 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Myles Turner added 16 points while going 4-for-7 from 3-point range.

Noteworthy

  • Game 6 will be a “Gold Out,” with all fans in attendance receiving a gold t-shirt.
  • The Pacers are 5-0 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the playoffs and have won 10 straight home games including the regular season. Indiana has not lost at home since March 18.
  • The Pacers have won Game 6 four of the last times when facing a 3-2 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)

TV: ESPN – Broadcasters TBA

Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)

Tickets

The Pacers will host the Knicks for Game 6 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Friday, May 17. The time for Game 6 is TBD. Find Tickets >>

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