Indianapolis, Indiana. The Indiana Pacers are on the brink of advancing to the NBA semi-finals after beating New York 93-82 Tuesday, behind 26 points from George Hill and a dominant team rebounding performance.
Paul George finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers who seized a 3-1 stranglehold lead and can now wrap up the second-round series with a win Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
“We are making it tough for them,” Hill said. “We wanted to play with physicality and don’t give them any easy baskets”.
Indiana displayed why they are the league’s top rebounding team as they have outrebounded New York 188-142 in the series and 54-36 on Tuesday night.
David West finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, Roy Hibbert grabbed 11 rebounds while Lance Stephenson chipped in with 13 points for Indiana, who are a perfect 5-0 at home in the postseason.
Hibbert also guarded the paint effectively by making three blocked shots.
“Everybody’s all tied together on this team,” George said.
The Memphis Grizzlies are the only other team not lose on their home floor during these playoffs.
Carmelo Anthony continued his disappearing act Tuesday as the Knicks star failed to score a single point in the fourth quarter of game four and fouled out with two minutes left in regulation.
Anthony, who didn’t make a field goal in the final quarter of game three, finished with 24 points on nine-of-23 shooting.
J.R. Smith is also struggling offensively as he missed eight of his first nine shots and finished just seven-of-22 from the floor for 19 points.
New York shot 28 percent (8-of-28) from three-point range after leading the league with an average of almost 11 per game from beyond the arc during the regular season.
Hill said the Pacers have to prepare themselves physically and mentally for Thursday’s game five.
“We have got to play with the same energy, intensity and passion and play like we are down 3-1. We have to think of it as an elimination game for us,” Hill said.
“We’ve got an uphill climb. It is doable,” said Knicks coach Mike Woodson.
The Pacers closed the second quarter with a 13-4 surge that included a three pointer from Hill.
George drained a pull-up jumper and Hill’s steal and layup in transition stretched Indiana’s lead to 16-points. Anthony made a long jump shot in the final seconds, but the Pacers still led 48-34 at halftime.
Hill scored 14 of his points in the third and drained a three pointer to give Indiana a 66-50 lead with 2:12 remaining in the quarter.
The Knicks cut that lead to 67-56 by going on a 6-1 run to end the third.
Early in the fourth Smith made a layup that cut the Pacers’ lead to 69-61, but Indiana answered with a 7-0 surge of their own and were never seriously threatened for the remainder of the contest.