The New York Knicks hope to stave off elimination Saturday night as they meet the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
In an 85-75 win, no group came through more for the Knicks in Game Five than their bench, which outscored Indiana’s 35-10 with 13 points apiece from J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland.
Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, on 12-for-28 shooting, and Smith led New York with three steals. The Knicks forced 19 Pacer turnovers.
Indiana’s Paul George continued his breakout playoff campaign with a team-high 23 points, along with six rebounds and six assists. Forward David West contributed his third straight double-double of these playoffs with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Pacers struggled mightily from the line as well, going 19-for-33.
Still down 3-2, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson kept veterans Amar’e Stoudemire and Jason Kidd on the bench for most of the game. Instead 35-year-old rookie Pablo Prigioni played 19 minutes, and Copeland was able to shine from the wing.
Stoudemire is still working his way back from knee surgery, and Kidd hasn’t scored a single basket since Game Two of the Boston series.
New York will try to force a deciding Game Seven in Madison Square Garden, and could benefit once again from the absence of Pacer guard George Hill.
Hill suffered a concussion in the first quarter of Game Four, but played on to score 24 points. He sat out Game Five, and is a game-time decision Saturday.
The game tips-off at 8 p.m. Eastern time and will be broadcast by ESPN, or viewers can watch a live online stream at Watch ESPN here.
Betting Odds: Indiana is favored by 5.5 points
Over/Under: 179 points
Prediction: The Knicks will need a huge game from center Tyson Chandler, who must contain Pacer center Roy Hibbert. Anthony has had his troubles getting around the long arms of George, but if Smith can consistently connect on his shots, Indiana may have to play off Anthony. West will also be a key for Indiana. This will be another low scoring game, and the Pacers should pull it out, even without Hill.
Predicted Score: Indiana 85, New York 79