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Sunday, May 19th, 2013 at 9:56 am  |  29 responses

Post Up: Indiana Advances

The hard-nosed Pacers hold off New York and are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Indiana 106, New York 99 (Pacers win series 4-2)

Carmelo Anthony gained a step on Paul George, drove baseline and climbed the ladder for a powerful dunk that would have silenced the Pacers crowd and given the Knicks the boost they needed to send the series back to New York for a Game 7. Pacers center Roy Hibbert was having none of that.

Hibbert, who head coach Frank Vogel called the “best rim protector in the league” during his press conference, rotated over, met Melo at the rim and had the biggest block of his career, one that shifted the balance of the game and took the wind out of New York’s sails.

Hibbert was nothing short of dominant and absolutely owned the paint all series long. His swat on Melo put an emphatic stamp on a 21-point, 12-rebound, 5-block performance. Hibbert made last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler look like he didn’t even belong in the same league and was undoubtedly the MVP for the Pacers.

The Pacers jumped out to a 12-point lead in the third quarter and looked like they were going to run away with the game. But, the Knicks suddenly caught fire, as Iman Shumpert hit three straight 3-pointers, and JR Smith hit another to lead a 12-2 Knicks run that tied the game up. In the fourth, Chris Copeland hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Knicks an 89-86 lead with 9:01 left. The Pacers regained the lead but Smith hit another 3 to give New York a 92-90 lead. Then Hibbert’s block came and everything changed for the Knicks. New York was visibly rattled and fell apart down the stretch. Indiana capitalized with an 11-2 run to put the Knicks away for good and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2004.

SLAM favorite Lance Stephenson was sensational for Indiana. Born Ready, who had a great series, scored a career-high 25 points, grabbed 10 boards and absolutely bullied the Knicks’ undersized backcourt. Paul George scored 23 points and David West finished with 17. Indiana also went to the stripe 46 times compared to the Knicks’ 18.

Carmelo Anthony had his best game of the series and single-handedly kept the Knicks in the game as his teammates continued their shooting slump. Melo finished with 39 points but had a tough fourth quarter with a few costly turnovers and looked like he ran out of gas after getting pummeled all season long.

Though New York was outmatched in this series, when put in perspective—something that doesn’t exist in the Big Apple, where anything less than a Championship is considered a failure—they had a tremendous season. Now, the Knicks front office has to regroup and make a lot of tough decisions going forward. Most notably, what to do with JR Smith, whose postseason play and antics likely cost him millions of dollars this off season. Regardless of how the season ended, the Knicks took a giant step forward and have a nice foundation to build off heading into this summer.

For the Pacers, they’ll provide a true test for the defending champs. The key to beating the Heat is to play them physically, limit turnovers and win the battle on the boards. Indiana provides a lot of tough matchups for the Heat and if they can cut down on turnovers, something they had a lot of trouble with against New York, they will give Miami all they can handle.

Should be fun.—Peter Walsh

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  • underdog

    Pacers – Heat is going to be a good one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/braxton.hartnabrig.1 Braxton P Hartnabrig

    I wonder if Kenyon encouraged the team to wear they’re fishing suits last night.

  • Max

    Pacers-Grizz finals!

  • whiteworks4me

    The Pacers also don’t look like they all got out of prison. JR Reed and Tyson Chadler look stupid!~ what is wrong withthem black dudes looking like they walked out of africa with trive paint or something. I wanted them to looose just they all look like loser

  • LLC#12

    This is the stupidest comment I’ve ever read. Do you have some kind of learning difficulty?

  • LLC#12

    What potential Finals matchup would be the most entertaining to watch, and which matchup is most likely? For entertainment, I’m going with Grizzlies – Heat. As for most likely, Spurs – Heat.

  • Ideological

    Lance Stephenson will work and injured D Wade. George hill better than Mario charmers.

    Lbj is lbj but paul george good defender

    Bosh Hibbert a weird mismatch

    West battier a weird mismatch

    Due to pacers lack of Offense

    Heat 4-1

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I fully expect you to accidentally walk into traffic

  • robb

    Born Ready!

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    How do you feel about white cats with tats?

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    I need lance to ball like that against the Heat. Pacers have all the tools to beat the Heat I just dont trust Frank Vogel’s rotations.

  • spit hot fiyah

    nba nerd’s dream. casual fan’s nightmare

  • spit hot fiyah

    jr reid also had a nice high top when he played for charlotte in the early 90′s

  • spit hot fiyah

    probably considers them vikings with tribal paint

  • lights out

    agreed. and love your avatar!

  • Mars

    Finally living up to the hype. I knew Born Ready had it in him!

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Guaransheed.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    You mean “trive” paint.

  • honkyworks4me

    You sound like a stupid cracker.

    Sorry, I shouldn’t have said cracker. I meant honky.

  • KKK4LIFE

    Jr smith <<<< any white player in nba history

  • KKK4LIFE

    Black players <<<< white players
    MJ should be in prison while Kyle Korver is MVP
    White is supreme

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  • http://twitter.com/Esquire_J Esquire J

    Seriously dude

  • Mike From Spain

    Some of the matchups favour the Pacers against the Heat. Chalmers / Hill, Lance Stephenson vs a hobbled Wade or Ray Allen, Bosh should be handled defensively quite well by West and Hibbert (the other Miami bigs are a non-factor offensively).

    If Indiana manage to limit the transition opportunities of the Heat, and the Heat are forced to play small while Indiana still manages some traditional bigs, the advantage in the half-court would be for Indiana, they’d win the rebound battle, and possibly put most of the Heat front-court into foul trouble.

    The problem for Indiana is Lebron and the Heat’s three point shooting in half-court offense. If the Heat’s three pointers fall, and Lebron is not slowed down by Paul George, Indiana’s offensive firepower will not be enough.

  • Max

    Lance is not an advantage over DWade/Ray. Even when DWade is hobbled.

  • Mike From Spain

    My thoughts on this one… Wade looked really bad on the secon round, but if he is his usual self I agree. What are the reports on his status?

    Ray Allen is a great 3 pt threat, but how many quality minutes can he play if Wade misses playing time? I haven’t seen him play this year, but how does he cope at the defensive end with physical stronger players? Is Allen able to give you stops and transition if/when Wade has to sit?

  • Max

    All I know is you never count out Wade, remember last year when he went like 2-12 in game 3 vs Indy?
    2 games later he explodes for 40.
    And Lance is still a little too inconsistent, He will probably give Ray some problems but Miami’s team D is so good.

  • Mike From Spain

    Fair enough, I really think it all depends on Wade’s shape. Stephenson is not (yet) consistent, but if he was to go head to head with Ray Allen, I think he would either wear Ray out or cause the team to have to help more on Lance’s better games. You seem to think that even if Stephenson had his way on the offensive end it would matter little. I guess he’d be able to either post one 20 point game in the series (I give you the point that he’s not consistent), or at least to cause the Heat’s defense to have to rotate and help, which can be exploited. Maybe I give this factor too much importance, but this matchup could well give the Pacers a slight edge in a close game. I don’t think that the bulk of the offense of the Pacers will come through Lance Stephenson or that he’ll routinely shoulder the load for the Pacers but he might add rather than substract there.

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