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Indiana Pacers force Game 7 with dominant win over New York Knicks

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Pascal Siakam had 25 points and seven rebounds, Myles Turner added 17 points and eight rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers turned the tables on the New York Knicks with a 116-103 victory on Friday night to even the Eastern Conference semi-finals at 3-3.

The decisive Game 7 will be played Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Indiana entered the game determined to match New York’s intensity and physical rebounding style after a 30-point blowout loss in Game 5. The Pacers outworked New York for a 44-37 rebounding edge and even held a slight 14-13 advantage on the offensive end after getting dominated on the glass in Game 5.

Tyrese Haliburton and Andrew Nembhard each scored 15 points, with Nemhard pulling down six rebounds and dishing out six assists as Indiana kept its perfect postseason home record intact at 6-0. Haliburton had nine assists.

Jalen Brunson again led the severely short-handed Knicks by scoring 31 points on 11-of-26 shooting after missing his final 11 shots in the first half. Deuce McBride added 20 points and Donte DiVincenzo had 17, but Josh Hart left in the fourth quarter with what the Knicks said was abdominal soreness.

The Knicks have lost nine straight playoff games at Indiana but are now heading back to the Garden, where they have played dramatically better.

It didn’t take the Pacers long to show this contest would be different. They outhustled New York early, scooping up loose balls and turning them into quick points as they took a 42-41 lead on Haliburton’s second three-pointer of the game. The ensuing 16-7 run helped the Pacers take a 61-48 halftime lead and they never trailed again.

Brunson rebounded in the second half, getting the Knicks within 61-56 after making two baskets and a free throws.

But Nembhard and Haliburton answered with consecutive 3s to rebuild an 11-point margin, and the Knicks never really contended again.

It was the third straight game decided by double digits after the first three were all single-point margins.

New York again played without four key players because of injuries – forwards OG Anunoby, Bojan Bogdanovic and Julius Randle, and backup center Mitchell Robinson. Only Anunoby, who injured his left hamstring in the second half of Game 2 and hasn’t played since, appears to have a chance to return Sunday.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said Anunoby continues to do “light work” as he tries to recover.

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