Pacers one win from first East finals since ’04
George Hill scored 26 points and Paul George added 18 points and 14 rebounds Tuesday night, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 93-82 victory over the New York Knicks and a 3-1 lead in the second-round series.
Indiana needs one more win to reach the conference finals for the first time since 2004. Game 5 will be Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
NBA scoring champ Carmelo Anthony fouled out with 24 points. J.R. Smith had 19 on another dreadful night for the Knicks.
The game followed a familiar pattern. New York’s shooting was off, Indiana had a huge rebounding edge and the Knicks couldn’t challenge after halftime.
New York didn’t hang around long, either. Indiana closed the first quarter on a 9-2 run to break a 14-14 tie. New York never got closer than five the rest of the way.
Indiana improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and has won each time by double digits. The Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies are the only teams that haven’t lost at home in the postseason.
But this was not just another off night for New York, which lost for the fifth time in seven games.
New York shot just 35.6 percent from the field, 28.6 percent on 3-pointers and was outrebounded this time 54-36.
And, at times, the Knicks lost their composure, too.
Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire combined to play 42 minutes in the first half and had a grand total of seven points, nine rebounds and nine fouls —three apiece. Chandler and Stoudemire each drew technicals and Smith was fortunate not to get another after being called for a charge.
Coach Mike Woodson complained multiple times with the officials and backup Quentin Richardson even smacked the press table with his hand after a non-call late in the first quarter.
Indiana could have cared less in a game it dictated for the final three quarters.
New York tied the score at 14 with 3:38 left in the first quarter, then allowed the Pacers to go ahead 23-16 lead after one.
The Knicks never led in the game.
Indiana extended the lead to 30-19 early in the second quarter before Anthony tried to rally his teammates. He produced the Knicks’ next seven points and when Raymond Felton scored on a layup with 4:08 left in the half, New York cut the deficit to 35-30.