No Comments

Knicks Claw Back Control, Thump Pacers 121-91 to Take 3-2 Series Lead

Knicks dominant 121-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5.

The New York Knicks are just one win away from their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 24 years! After a humbling defeat in Game 4, the Knicks roared back with a dominant 121-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. This win marks the first time in the playoffs that the Knicks haven’t had a nail-biting finish within the last five minutes.

Jalen Brunson Erupts, Silences Doubts

Following concerns about a foot injury and a pair of underwhelming performances in Indiana, Jalen Brunson emphatically silenced the doubters. He exploded for a game-high 44 points on 18-for-35 shooting, showcasing his scoring prowess once again. It marks his fifth 40-point performance in the playoffs, further solidifying his status as a superstar under the dazzling lights of Madison Square Garden. Notably, 32 of his points came from either inside the paint or at the free-throw line, demonstrating his aggressive driving game. The Knicks even implemented specific plays to exploit mismatches and get him downhill for easy baskets.

Sharp Defense Stifles Pacers’ Offense

The Knicks’ defense, which had been a bit shaky throughout the playoffs, finally found its rhythm. After conceding 22 points in the first few minutes, they locked down on the Pacers’ ball movement and rotations. They consistently stayed with their assignments, helped on drives, and rotated effectively, making it difficult for Indiana to find good scoring opportunities. One defensive sequence late in the second quarter exemplified this resurgence. The Knicks hustled, switched on screens, contested shots effectively, and even swatted away a layup attempt by Andrew Nembhard. This relentless defensive pressure ultimately held the Pacers to a season-low 91 points.

Hartenstein’s Hustle Matches Brunson’s Brilliance

While Brunson stole the show offensively, Isaiah Hartenstein’s tireless work on the boards deserves equal praise. He finished with a team-high 12 rebounds, a staggering number for a playoff game in recent years. More impressively, seven of those rebounds were offensive, giving the Knicks valuable second chances. His hustle and ability to draw fouls on rebounds further frustrated the Pacers in the final stretch. Despite minimal scoring himself, Hartenstein’s dominance on the glass significantly impacted the outcome.

Historically, winners of Game 5 in a 2-2 series tend to win the series itself a staggering 82% of the time. Furthermore, Game 6 closers outnumber Game 7 deciders. That bodes well for the Knicks, who have the opportunity to close out the series on Friday night in Indiana. While both games there this past weekend resulted in losses, the first one was a close battle, and the second came on short rest. Now, with two days off to recover, the Knicks appear rejuvenated. Alec Burks has solidified his role as a reliable seventh man, providing depth in the backcourt. 

However, the Pacers will undoubtedly fight for their season on their home floor. The Knicks will need to maintain their defensive intensity and capitalize on offensive opportunities, especially second chances, to secure the series win. If they can’t close it out in Game 6, they’ll face a quick turnaround similar to the one between Games 3 and 4, this time with added travel fatigue. 

Both teams will feel pressure on Friday night. The Pacers are on the brink of elimination, while the Knicks crave much-needed rest. It promises to be a thrilling matchup with high stakes for both sides.

Tags: Knicks vs Pacers, NBA League, NBA News

More Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed