NBA Playoffs Daily Recap: Indiana Defeats New York to Advance to Conference Finals

2013 NBA Playoffs
2013 NBA Playoffs
May 18 2013 Indianapolis IN USA Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson 1 reacts in game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the New York Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse The Pacers won 106 99 Pat Lovell USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday night’s NBA Playoff action, the Indiana Pacers defeated the New York Knicks to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals. For the Knicks, it’s back to the drawing board after a disappointing postseason.

Pacers move onto Eastern Conference Finals with 106-99 win over Knicks
Putting the team on his shoulders, Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony did all he could to avoid going home early. But even after 39 points and seven rebounds, it wasn’t quite enough as New York was eliminated from the postseason by Indiana after a 106-99 Pacers win. Anthony had a solid game, but Indiana proved to be too much down the stretch.

Ironically, it was a series of bad plays by Anthony that helped seal New York’s fate.

Leading 92-90, the forward had a shot blocked with about five minutes left in the game. After a Lance Stephenson layup tied the game, Anthony came back down the court on the next possession and the Pacers’ Paul George drew a charge against him. On the ensuing possession, Anthony had a bad pass, which led to another bucket by Stephenson. After trailing 92-90, the Pacers went on an 11-2 run to seize control.

Stephenson was the hero down the stretch for Indiana, scoring nine of those 11 points to clinch the game. He also added ten rebounds during the contest.

The Pacers also got some help from guard George Hill, who returned after suffering a concussion. Hill didn’t shoot particularly well, but had a good all-around game registering 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists, and a block.

A question mark for the team remains their bench. The Pacers’ reserves didn’t play many minutes, but they again didn’t contribute all that much. They weren’t needed on Saturday, but a problem could arise if the team gets into foul trouble or suffers an injury. Only four players (Tyler Hansbrough, Sam Young, Ian Mahinmi, and D.J. Augustin) have played regular minutes coming off the bench. If Indiana is forced to rely on one of their other reserves getting into a game, they could be in trouble.

The problem again for New York was their shooting. The Knicks made only 40% of their baskets against the defensive-minded Pacers. Indiana stymied New York’s players all postseason and did so again on Saturday. The starting backcourt of Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni was 2-13 from the field. Center Tyson Chandler was only 1-4. The backups were just as bad as the starters, shooting only 34%.

For the Knicks, it’s back to the drawing board after a frustrating postseason exit. The biggest question mark is what to do with All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire, who played sparingly upon his return.

With a big payday for a few more years and his injury struggles, he will be a difficult player to trade. But he’s too big of a talent to waste away on a bench (at least when he’s healthy), too. The Knicks will need to come up with a creative solution to that mess. Stoudemire played only six minutes on Saturday and scored two points.

Indiana now moves on to face Miami on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Finals. The Heat eliminated Indiana last year in the semifinals.

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Anson Whaley
Anson Whaley is a freelance writer with more than 16 years of experience. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a current member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). Mr. Whaley has also been a credentialed member of the media for various events. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');