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NBA playoffs: Pacers lock down Knicks to force Game 7

In Sports
May 18, 2024

The Indiana Pacers will get a Game 7 against the New York Knicks.

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

It will be the first Game 7 at 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 an NBA basketball second-round 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 very much a case of the Pacers’ usual suspects doing what they needed to survive in front of the home crowd. Siakam led the way on 11-of-21 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists, while Tyrese Haliburton had 15 points and nine assists. T.J. McConnell was again a difference-maker off the bench, posting 15 points.

Myles 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 this postseason. Brunson still managed to post 31 points, but he was only 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.

Adding to the trouble for the Knicks was starting guard Josh Hart exiting the game in the fourth quarter with abdominal soreness. New York will be hoping he — as well as another player — can play in Game 7.

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

Knicks guard OG Anunoby has been out since sustaining a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of Game 2, but his return is reportedly a possibility on Sunday. He can’t come back soon enough for the Knicks, who won both games Anunoby played and have since dropped three of four.

The Knicks acquired Anunoby at the trade deadline, a move that tightened up 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 a large chunk of the second half.

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