As an eternal pessimist, I was convinced the New York Knicks were going to put up another spectacular 30-2 run to tie this series at 2-2. And I also knew if they did that, the series was likely to go 7 where the odds would be on the Knicks side.
But like they have done many times this year, the Indiana Pacers locked down, played mean, played ugly and played hard, dominating the glass 54-36 on their way to an easy 93-82 victory and a commanding 3-1 leading in this second round series.
The Pacers have a lot of offensive weapons, and on this night it was George Hill, who racked up 26 points on 9-14 shooting. Roy Hibbert didn't have a big offensive night, but he was a rock in the middle, blocking 3 shots and grabbing 11 rebounds to go with just 6 points. David West had a 10-10 double-double, Lance Stephenson had 13, and Paul George was all-round solid with 18, 14, 7, 2 steals and 2 blocks, even though he shot just 6-19 (including 1-9 from downtown) and committed 5 turnovers.
The Knicks needed someone to get hot, and Carmelo Anthony did as much as he could before fouling out. He had 24 on 9-23 shooting. JR Smith continued to struggle. He had 19 but shot just 7-22 from the field. Tyson Chandler called out his team for playing selfish basketball and poor ball movement, but this didn't seem to wake up the Knicks offense. Or perhaps, the Pacers defense is really that good.
Game 5 is a must-win for the Knicks if they want to avoid elimination, but to be honest I haven't seen all that much urgency from them. It wouldn't surprise me if the Pacers closed this one out in 5, but I will stick with my original prediction: Pacers in 6.