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Knicks Top Pacers in Game 5 to Stay Alive


Down 3-1 in their playoff series with the Indiana Pacers and with their backs against the wall, the New York Knicks had no choice but to ratchet up the effort, physical intensity and defensive pressure to keep their season alive. Fortunately, they accomplished all of the above, winning game five 85-75 on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

“Tonight it was just one of them days where you just got to leave it out there on the basketball court,” Carmelo Anthony said, according to ESPN.com.

Anthony led the way for the Knicks as usual, scoring 28 points, while the rest of the team continued to struggle finding the basket against the physical Pacers defense. The biggest difference became New York’s defense, which forced the Pacers out of the paint, where they failed to connect on outside jumpers, hitting just 36.2 percent of their overall field goals.

“We didn’t play well. It was a bad game for us and we were still there,” said Paul George, who led Indiana with 23 points and six rebounds.

Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who dominated the middle in game three, failed to get anything going after getting in early foul trouble in game five. He ended the game playing a series-low 31 minutes and only scored nine points in the loss.

Even though the Knicks know they still have to put together two more solid games in a row to advance, coach Mike Woodson was happy with the turnaround he is beginning to see from his team in terms of effort.

“I was totally impressed because we met the challenge,” Woodson said. “I think as a coach you come into games like this and you want to see who’s going to step up and make plays, and I thought we did that tonight. We were the better team in terms of doing that.”

Besides the tight Knicks defense, another thing that limited Indiana’s offensive production was the absence of George Hill, who was out for game five with a concussion. There’s no word on if he is expected to play in game six, but with the game just a day away, he may need more time to recover.

Missing Hill again would certainly hurt Indiana’s chances to end the series in six games, but going back home should help. Indiana won each of its two previous home games against the Knicks by double digits and held New York under 85 points on each occasion.

Considering the Knicks have played far better on their home floor in the series, the Pacers’ best opportunity to advance may by in game six, even without Hill. A loss in game six means Indiana would have to travel back to Madison Square Garden for a decisive game seven and that is certainly not something it is looking forward to.

With the 3-2 advantage, I still like the Pacers to win this series, but expect a good fight out of the Knicks and expect whoever comes out of this series to be in big trouble against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

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