RSS Feeds

Without Hill, Pacers fumble away chance to advance

Friday - 5/17/2013, 12:46am  ET

Indiana Pacers' Paul George (24) loses his balance as New York Knicks' Iman Shumpert (21) defends in the second half of Game 5 of an Eastern Conference semifinal in the NBA basketball playoffs, at Madison Square Garden in New York, Thursday, May 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Without their point guard, the Indiana Pacers fumbled away their first chance to reach the Eastern Conference finals.

The Pacers committed 19 turnovers, including seven that gave the New York Knicks eight points in the fourth quarter, and lost 85-75 on Thursday night in Game 5.

They have another chance to wrap it up Saturday at home but don't know if they will have George Hill, who was ruled out with a concussion about four hours before the game.

D.J. Augustin replaced him and scored 12 points but had no assists in a sloppy performance by the Pacers.

"I think we were turning the ball over too much and we just weren't executing and we just weren't attacking the paint," center Roy Hibbert said. "It's a thing of beauty when we attack the paint and dish it off and people are trying to get to the free throw line and playing hard. I think we settled too much. We can't just rely on going back home and get a win."

The Pacers limited the Knicks to 41 percent shooting but shot only 36 percent themselves and were a dismal 19 of 33 at the free throw line.

All-Star Paul George said Hill's absence made "no impact at all," but it was clear the Pacers were just a little off, especially with the turnovers down the stretch.

"That's our Achilles' heel," George said. "That fourth quarter, we had a couple of possessions where we just didn't do a good job of taking care of the ball, handling the pressure and getting guys the ball where they wanted it."

Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points and reserves J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland each had 13 for the Knicks, who need a victory Saturday in Indiana to force a seventh game back here Monday. They are trying to become the ninth NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series.

"I was totally impressed because we met the challenge," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "I think as a coach you come into games like this and you want to see who's going to step up and make plays, and I thought we did that tonight. We were the better team in terms of doing that."

Anthony, who didn't make a basket in the fourth quarter of either game in Indiana, made a jumper midway through the fourth quarter after Indiana closed within four points. He followed with two free throws, Raymond Felton made a layup, and the Knicks were never in jeopardy again.

George had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers.

"We've just got to play more solid. There's no other way to put it," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.

George battled foul trouble and couldn't contain Anthony quite as well as he had while the Pacers easily won the previous two games.

Anthony made his first two shots as New York raced to a 7-0 lead in a game it never trailed. He finished only 12 of 28, but got plenty of bench help.

"We didn't shoot the ball very well but we made shots at the crucial time," Anthony said.

David West had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who were trying to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004.

The winner will face the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in a series that will start Wednesday.

New York didn't really shake its scoring slump, shooting only 41 percent from the field, but put together a few runs during the game to open just enough space.

Vogel said Hill was hurt after a collision with Knicks center Tyson Chandler during the first half of Indiana's 93-82 victory on Tuesday. Hill finished the game and scored 26 points, but experienced some headaches and showed concussion symptoms since and wasn't able to pass the league's concussion tests so he could play Thursday night.

The Knicks went back to their regular lineup, reinserting Pablo Prigioni, after going with a bigger group in Game 4 in a futile effort to match Indiana on the boards. The smaller group did a better job, getting outrebounded only 43-40.

"We're not going to go out without fighting," Chandler said.

The Knicks finally opened it up midway through the third quarter with a 12-4 run, started by Smith's bank shot and featuring a 3-pointer and follow shot from Copeland, who got more playing time while Woodson gave little to veterans Amare Stoudemire and the slumping Jason Kidd, who missed his only shot and remains scoreless in the series.

   1 2  -  Next page  >>