Indiana Pacers finally figured it out.
When given the chance to take over control of a playoff series, they cannot give it back. On Tuesday night, they didn’t.
George Hill scored 26 points and Paul George had 18 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists, leading the Pacers past the NY Knicks, 93-82 and to within one win of their 1st conference finals appearance since 2004. Odds
”We wanted it,” George said. ”For us to come out with that edge, still, after being up 2-1 and being on our floor for Game 4, for us to be up and ready and have an edge to play, it just speaks to how focused we are right now.”
It was a long way from what Pacers experienced a week ago in NY, or last year at home against Miami Heat.
Last week, the NY Knicks rallied from a Game 1 loss, using a 30-2 run to blow out Indiana at Madison Square Garden and even the series.
A year ago, Indiana Pacers held a 2-1 lead over Miami but gave away Game 4 and never won again. Miami Heat went on to win the NBA crown.
So the Pacers went determined not let it happen again, actually not with former stars Reggie Miller and Rik Smits in the house watching their old team hand it to their old rivals.
”I just think that our focus has been better than it was,” Indiana’s David West said. ”We may have surprised ourselves going in there and getting Game 1. Naturally, we may have had a little letdown, but we talked about maintaining our home court and our focus in these 2 games and were able to accomplish that. Our next target is to compete hard with a chance for a close-out game in a tough environment.”
Indiana Pacers were strong defensively again, had another big rebounding advantage (54-36) and never really let the New York Knicks challenge them in the 2nd half.
Desperate New York tried everything to change the script. Nothing worked.
Kenyon Martin played 29 minutes and J.R. Smith logged 31 1/2 despite missing practice Sunday and Monday because they were ill. Guard Iman Shumpert started even with a sore and swollen left knee that had the Knicks so worried they brought an orthopedic doctor to Indy to look at it. The doctor determined there wasn’t any structural damage.
Amare Stoudemire was called for 4 fouls in 11-plus minutes in his second game back since March 7 and had only 4 points and 4 rebounds.
NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony finished with 24 points before fouling out with 2 minutes left in the game. He took only 4 shots in the fourth quarter and was held without a basket over the last 12 minutes for the 2nd straight game.
Smith, the NBA’s top sixth man, scored 19 points, most coming in a futile try to rally his team late.
And on a night New York shot just 35.6 percent from the field and 28.6 percent on 3-pointers, the ugliest part could have been how the NY Knicks lost their composure, giving away points on technical foul calls, disagreeing with the refs, even smacking the press table in frustration.