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Knicks once again fight for playoff lives against Pacers
(Sports Network) - The New York Knicks staved off elimination against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, but now have to find a way to keep the series going when Game 6 shifts back to Indianapolis Saturday night.
The Pacers are 5-0 at home during the postseason and the Knicks lost both games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse during this Eastern Conference semifinal series by 11 points.
"We have to figure it out real soon. I know that," said Knicks head coach Mike Woodson. "I wish I could put my finger on it. (Friday) we are going to huddle together, pump each other up and get ready for Saturday night."
The Knicks figured it out Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. They won, 85-75, to keep the series alive thanks to a superior defensive effort.
"We just came together as a team tonight," said forward Carmelo Anthony. "At the end of the day, we all believe and have confidence in ourselves. But we'll just take it one day at a time."
Anthony set the tone early with a hard foul, but also did his part scoring the basketball. The NBA's leading scorer during the regular season tallied a game- high 28 points.
But the defense is what worked in Game 5.
The Pacers shot only 36 percent from the field, 31 percent from the 3-point line and 57 percent from the foul line. Indiana turned it over 19 times, including seven in the fourth quarter.
"We just did not come to play," said Pacers center Roy Hibbert. "There's no excuses. We didn't deserve to win."
In addition to the great defensive effort, the Knicks got some great play off their bench. J.R. Smith scored 13 points and Chris Copeland also posted 13 points in just over 19 minutes off the bench.
The Pacers were dealt a serious blow just minutes before Game 5. Point guard George Hill, who had a game-high 26 points in Game 4, was ruled unable to play due to a concussion.
Hill received the concussion in the early minutes of Game 4 when Knicks center Tyson Chandler collided with Hill and the All-Defensive center caught Hill with an elbow. Hill's availability for Game 6 is unknown.
D.J. Augustin started in Hill's place on Thursday and scored 12 points, but didn't hand out a single assist. All-Star Paul George and Lance Stephenson both aided in ball-handling duties, but no one singularly replaced Hill.
George had 23 points and David West registered a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. No other Indiana played scored in double figures in the game.
"We just have to play more solid. There's no other way to put it," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel. "You have to play disciplined offensive basketball. Take the extra pass, but you have to deliver the ball on time and on target. You can't be sloppy with your turnovers, especially against this team."
If the Knicks win on Saturday, Game 7 will be back in Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
If the Pacers win and advance, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals will be Wednesday night in Miami against the defending NBA champion Heat.
05/18 10:07:53 ET