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Knicks and Pacers Look Toward Must-Win Game 6

After taking two straight games on their home court, the Indiana Pacers traveled to the Big Apple and lost to the New York Knicks, 85-75 on Thursday.

George Hill

Pacers guard George Hill

They now lead the series 3-2 and will look to Saturday’s game as a must-win to wrap things up. But it may come with a challenge: starting point guard George Hill has a concussion and has been listed as day-to-day. He was absent from Friday’s practice after his injury came in Game 4 by running into the Knicks center Tyson Chandler. Hill looked shaken up but he remained in the game, adding 26 points in the 83-72 Pacers win.

Before he can return to play, per league rules, he’ll have to first get the green light after a concussion test. This follows rest from activities and then as he begins his return, he also has to be “symptom-free” before his level of “exertion” is expanded.

The clock is ticking and whether this happens by Saturday’s evening game remains to be seen.

So how will the Pacers be affected in Hill’s absence? They’re a better team with him as they have outscored their opponents in the playoffs by 61 points but when the player is on the bench, they have instead been outscored by 37, according to ESPN.

On the other hand, the Pacers have their home court as a good luck charm as they’re 4-0 vs. the Knicks.

To make it 5-0, it could come without Hill and here’s few Saturday pinch hitters for him.

On Thursday, the team went with D.J. Augustin. It was a little challenging as they had 19 turnovers and the loss. Augustin had almost 39 minutes of play, scoring 12 points with zero assists.

Then there’s All-Star Paul George. He played for Hill in Game 5 and found success with a double-double (23 points, 10 rebounds) with his six assists. He is a strong defender and when guarding Carmelo Anthony, over the series’ inaugural four games, he held him to 31 percent shooting.

Maybe a bigger question is, was Thursday’s game just an off one or are the Knicks starting to fight back?

Well, the dynamic has changed without Hill and on Thursday it was further evidenced as the Pacers shot poorly (36 percent); incurred weak free throw shooting (19-of-33 or 57.6 percent); underwent foul problems and showed some lack of focus, reported ProBasketballTalk.

George said of the game via USA Today, “We didn’t play well. It was a bad game for us, but we were still right there. A couple of plays where with maturity and growth, we’ll get better at executing the plays our coaches draw up for us. They took us out of our game a little with their pressure.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, this is also a must-win game for the Knicks: if they lose, they’re out!

History may be on Indianapolis’ side as only seven teams in league playoff history have given up a 3-1 series advantage.

Bovada does have the Pacers at +2000 to win the Championship while the Knicks are +4000.

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

But what changed on Thursday for the Knicks that needs to continue on Saturday? Anthony stepped up with 28 points and gave the team some much-needed energy. The team believes in themselves and appears to have overcome earlier rumors of discord by Chandler.

Other Knicks have been playing better as J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland both contributed 13 points with 10 points by Copeland coming off the bench along with strong rebounding. For the night, Knicks had 41 percent shooting.

They will need to see continuous good play off the bench and a game with hot shooting by Anthony and Smith would be helpful.

The Knicks want a return to New York just as much as the Pacers don’t want this to happen.

Looks like things may go the Pacers’ way on Saturday with a win (-5, 178.5 o/u).






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