If ‘Frenzied’ Pacers Don’t Get Out of Their Own Way, Knicks Will End Their Season in Game 6

If 'Frenzied' Pacers Don't Get Out of Their Own Way, Knicks Will End Their Season in Game 6
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For a brief moment during the third quarter of Game 6 on Tuesday, it seemed like the Indiana Pacers might mount a comeback. Myles Turner had just drained three consecutive three-pointers, cutting the New York Knicks’ once 18-point lead down to seven. Jalen Brunson missed a contested layup, and Andrew Nembhard pushed the ball up the court, giving Indiana a chance to make it a two-possession game.

However, instead of capitalizing, Nembhard lost the ball out of bounds while attempting a pick-and-roll against a set Knicks defence. This miscue was followed by a string of other errors: Turner lost the ball trying to isolate against Josh Hart, Pascal Siakam committed a carrying violation, and Obi Toppin made a misguided jump pass that went out of bounds. These turnovers fueled a 19-1 Knicks run that effectively sealed the game, leading to a 121-91 blowout.


Indiana’s 18 turnovers were just part of the problem. The Knicks dominated the glass, leading to a disparity in field goal attempts, from 101 for New York to Indiana’s 72. Tyrese Haliburton acknowledged postgame that the team was “a little frenzied” and many of the turnovers were “self-inflicted.” 

Sloppiness is unusual for the Pacers, known for their fast, free-flowing, pass-heavy style while maintaining one of the league’s lowest turnover rates. Despite coughing up the ball on 19.6% of their possessions in Game 5, Indiana has managed an 11.4% turnover rate in the playoffs, compared to the Boston Celtics’ league-low 12.1% during the regular season. 

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle described the loss as “very embarrassing” and criticized the team’s “poor decisions,” noting that “things can snowball when you’re not doing the little things well.” Despite leading for much of the first quarter, Indiana fell behind after four consecutive turnovers. 

Carlisle called three timeouts in the first quarter and two more in the second but couldn’t settle his team. The Pacers continually lost the ball, which is a testament to the Knicks’ defensive strategy. New York’s insertion of Miles “Deuce” McBride into the starting lineup over Precious Achiuwa not only improved spacing but also added McBride’s pesky defence. This pressure disrupted Haliburton, limiting Indiana’s transition game and putting extra strain on their half-court offence. Carlisle emphasized the need to improve fundamental aspects like “running hard, spacing, finding bodies, rebounding the ball.” 

After Indiana’s dominant Game 4 performance, Knicks players Josh Hart and Isaiah Hartenstein stressed the need to play their brand of basketball out of respect for their fans. The Knicks responded decisively in Game 5, leaving the Pacers needing to rediscover their identity for Game 6. They must address their turnover issues and play with both pace and poise to extend their season. If they fail to do so, the Knicks will likely end their playoff run on Friday.


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