The New York Knicks are on the brink of National Basketball Association playoff elimination after a 93-82 loss at Indiana, while the San Antonio Spurs are one win from a spot in the Western Conference finals.
Paul George had 18 points and 14 rebounds and the Pacers never trailed as they took a three-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven second-round series against the Knicks. Indiana can advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a win tomorrow night in Game 5 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“I still do believe that we are the better team,” Carmelo Anthony, who had 24 points on 9-for-23 shooting for the Knicks, said in a news conference. “We gotta remain even more confident, because if we come into Thursday’s game with no confidence they can walk away with that game.”
In San Antonio, the Spurs took a 3-2 lead against the Golden State Warriors with a 109-91 win. Tony Parker had 25 points and 10 assists for the Spurs, who held the Golden State backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to a combined 13 points on 6-of-22 shooting.
Kawhi Leonard added 17 points for the Spurs, who can advance with a win tomorrow night at Oakland, California. Harrison Barnes led the Warriors with 25 points while Curry had nine points on 4-of-14 shooting and Thompson shot 2-of-8 for four points.
Parker said a key to the win was keeping Curry in check. Curry came into the game averaging 25 points in his previous 10 contests this postseason.
“He’s the head of the snake,” Parker said in a television interview. “When he’s playing well, the whole team feeds off him.”
The defending champion Miami Heat will try to finish off the Chicago Bulls tonight in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference series. The Heat, who are at home, lead the series 3-1 after winning the last three games. Miami guard Dwyane Wade is questionable for the game with a bruised right knee.
Also tonight, the Memphis Grizzlies are at Oklahoma City as they try to eliminate the Thunder. The Grizzlies lead 3-1 in the series.
George Hill had 26 points to lead the Pacers, who outrebounded the Knicks 54-36 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. New York shot 36 percent against Indiana, which is 5-0 at home this postseason.
“We got hammered on the boards again, we’ve got to rebound the basketball,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said in a news conference. “We’ve got to figure out how to block out. That’s what really hurt us, that was the big difference tonight again.”
The Pacers opened the game with an 11-3 run as the Knicks missed 10 of their first 11 shots. New York responded with its own 11-3 run, taking advantage of three Indiana turnovers.
Indiana came right back with a 9-2 run and ended the first quarter up 23-16. The Pacers ended the second period with a 13-4 run and led 48-34 at halftime. The Knicks were 2-for-14 on 3-pointers in the first half.
The Pacers built their margin to 18 points late in the third period and the Knicks got no closer than eight points the rest of the game.
“Our effort was just off the charts, I couldn’t be more proud of our defensive effort, our rebounding effort,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said in a news conference.
Anthony went scoreless in the fourth quarter and fouled out with two minutes remaining in the game. He has not scored a basket in the final period of the last two games, having been held to two free throws in the fourth quarter of Game 3.
“I really believe that we can do something special here,” he told reporters. “Our backs are definitely against the wall at this point. We must win Thursday and figure it out from there.”