Indiana unbeatable at home, New York knocked out: the series goes to game 7

The Pacers have no intention of being eliminated in front of their fans and they demonstrated it by playing a courageous game, splitting the match in two in the second quarter (32-21) to take a 13-point lead at halftime and allowing at most to return to -5. Unlike what happened in game 5, this time the Pacers won the rebounding battle (44-37) and in this way managed to dictate the pace, winning the sixth game out of six of these playoffs at home, the only ones undefeated.

Once again, the big men dictate the pace in attack for the Pacers. Pascal Siakam is his best scorer with 25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 11/21 shooting, with a round +20 plus-minus in just under 31 minutes of play. But in general there are six players in double figures for the hosts, in addition to the 17 from Myles Turner, the 15 each from Andrew Nembhard, Tyrese Haliburton (also 6 rebounds and 9 assists) and TJ McConnell from the bench, with 11 from former Obi Toppin.

Looking at the game numbers it’s not hard to identify where the Pacers made the difference. Coach Rick Carlisle’s team scored 62 points in the area against 38 for their opponents, nearly hitting 54% from the field despite a mediocre 35% from the arc on a low volume of attempts (9/26). Siakam and company also managed to win on offensive rebounds (14-13) and moved the ball with their usual altruism, finishing with 35 assists on 49 baskets made to avoid elimination.

After hitting the first two shots of his game, Jalen Brunson missed 11 consecutive shots to end the first half, returning to score in the third quarter when the Pacers had already reached the double-digit lead. For him there are still 31 points with 5 assists, but with 11/26 shooting (3/8 from long range) and 6/9 on free throws, struggling to unlock himself and the Knicks’ attack held under 44%. Deuce McBride scores 20 with 4 triples and Donte Di Vincenzo adds 17.

It’s rare to see Josh Hart play less than 31 minutes in a playoff game, but an abdominal problem had become unbearable even for a player accustomed to playing through pain like him, going out in the fourth quarter after requesting a substitution. Already without Randle, Robinson and Bogdanovic as well as OG Anunoby (who has started working on the pitch again and could return on Sunday), losing Hart too would be a huge blow for the Knicks in view of game 7.

Almost 30 years after the last time, a playoff series between Pacers and Knicks will be decided in game 7. It was 1995 when Indiana managed to win at Madison Square Garden, taking revenge for the previous year’s defeat in game 7. Even in this series there were moments of tension, but after the success of the Pacers in game 6 everything will be decided in 48 minutes of fire to be played in the “World’s Most Famous Arena”.