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NBA Playoffs: Pacers beat short-handed Knicks in Game 7 for 130-109 win

In a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks ultimately collapsed while the Indiana Pacers broke out for a 130–109 victory. The Pacers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the Boston Celtics, while the Knicks wonder what could have happened without all the injuries they suffered.

Tyrese Haliburton scored 26 points with six assists to lead six Indiana players in double figures, showing the offensive aggressiveness he had lacked for much of the series. The All-Star point guard shot 9 of 14 from the field, including 6 of 10 from three-point range.

Jalen Brunson finished with 17 points and nine assists for the Knicks, but left the game late in the third quarter. after breaking his hand trying to defend Haliburton on a quick counterattack. Donte DiVincenzo led New York with 31 points and was really the team’s only consistent threat on Sunday. Alec Burks added a surprising 19 points coming off the bench.

New York initially received what appeared to be good news with OG Anunoby and Josh Hart starting the game despite injuries.

Anunoby returned to the lineup after missing the previous four games in the series due to a strained hamstring in Game 2. Before his injury, the forward was New York’s second-leading scorer at 16.4 points per game.

He made his first two shots (including a three-pointer) and looked ready to give the Knicks a boost. However, he was clearly slowed by the injury, showing little ability to move on defense or get up the field quickly. Anunoby ended up only playing five minutes to start the match and did not play the rest of the time.

Pascal Siakam quickly took advantage of the game for Indiana, scoring 11 points in the first quarter on 5-for-5 shooting. He finished with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Hart, the Knicks’ leading rebounder in the playoffs (averaging 11.2 per game), also played after suffering an abdominal strain in Game 6 that limited his effectiveness. He scored 10 points with seven rebounds and five assists, but couldn’t bring the Knicks the defensive energy he had throughout the playoffs. He committed a foul out of the game with three minutes remaining.

Indiana shot 76% in the first quarter (and 78% on three-pointers), led not only by Siakam’s strong start but by Haliburton looking for his shot. He scored 14 points in the frame, shooting 5 of 7 (and 4 of 5 from 3), asserting himself when the Pacers needed him most.

The Knicks looked slow on defense and other than DiVincenzo, who scored 12 points (and went 3 for 6 from 3) in the quarter, no one shot well while Indiana seemingly couldn’t miss.

The Pacers finished first with a 39-27 lead. The 39 points were the most in a first quarter of a Game 7 in NBA playoff history.

New York came back in the third quarter, closing to within 73-67 behind DiVincenzo and Burks, but Indiana systematically killed every rally attempt the Knicks could muster. With Anunoby and Hart still hampered, followed by Brunson breaking his hand, the Knicks had nothing left despite the vocal support of their home crowd.

For the game, Indiana shot 67% from the field (including 54% from long range), establishing an NBA playoff record. Andrew Nembhard added 20 points, six assists and five rebounds, Aaron Nesmith had 19 and Myles Turner totaled 17, while TJ McConnell scored 12 off the bench.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Pacers and Celtics will take place Tuesday night in Boston. The announcement will take place at 8 p.m. ET and the entire series will be televised on ESPN. The Celtics won three of five games against Indiana during the regular season.

News Source : sports.yahoo.com
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