The New York Knicks stubbornly fought off elimination with a huge Game 5 win on their home court but now they head out on the road to Indiana for Game 6. The Knicks have not looked good in the two games in Indiana and the Pacers have covered both times on the basketball betting lines. The Pacers will be eager to book their ticket to the Eastern Conference finals where Miami awaits but maybe the desperate Knicks can live one more day?
New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers
Odds: Knicks -4.5
The Knicks beat the Pacers at their own game in an 85-75 victory on Thursday as they held Indiana to 36.2% from the field, although the Pacers also shot themselves in the foot by hitting just 19 of their 33 free-throw attempts. Carmelo Anthony had 28 points to lead the Knicks, who didn’t fare much better than the Pacers at 41% from the field, but they hit 14 of their 17 free-throw attempts and forced 19 turnovers out of Indiana. It was a scrappy game that many didn’t think the Knicks could win, but they were buoyed by a raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden and they live to fight another day.
Paul George put up 23 points, six rebounds and six assists as he continued to battle Anthony all over the court, while David West added 17 points and 10 boards for the Pacers, but their troubles at the charity stripe doomed them, and their bench was vastly outscored 35-10. Chris Copeland and Jr. Smith had 13 points each for New York, while Gerald Green and Ian Mahinmi scored five apiece for the Pacers and while we all know their bench isn’t the greatest, they’re going to need more to put the Knicks away. Bench/role players tend to play better at home than on the road, so that will definitely be something to look forward to on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers should be the favorites at home and they’ve had their way with the Knicks in Indiana, winning five straight at the Fieldhouse and seven of their last 10 meetings overall. The Pacers won Games 3 and 4 in Indiana by 11 points in each game, and the Knicks never scored more than 82 points, but Game 5 showed that they could win the low-scoring games as well, although again, Indiana’s free-throw shooting woes were a big help. The Knicks may have to do the same on the road in a building where they have haven’t won since St. Patrick’s Day of last year.
Even though the Knicks won Game 5, Indiana probably would have won without the turnovers and missed free throws, and they’ll turn that around at home. The Knicks just don’t have the guns to battle with Indiana if Smith isn’t hitting his shots (and he hasn’t been), and they can’t really depend on Copeland to have another big game off the bench. The fact of the matter is, Indiana has been the better team in this series and they’ve dominated the Knicks on their home court, which is where New York’s season will end on Saturday. Take the Pacers straight up and to cover the sports betting lines.
Pick: Pacers -5