Anthony blocked in 4th as Knicks knocked out
Carmelo Anthony was nearly unstoppable for three quarters.
He faltered in the fourth, and now New York’s season is
Roy Hibbert’s block of Anthony’s dunk attempt midway through the
fourth quarter spurred an 11-2 run that rallied the Indiana Pacers
to a 106-99 victory over the Knicks in Game 6 of their second-round
series, sending them into their first Eastern Conference final
Anthony finished with 39 points and seven rebounds. He
mercilessly attacked Indiana’s Paul George, one of the NBA’s best
perimeter defenders, scoring 15 points in the third quarter while
helping the Knicks erase a 12-point deficit.
The Knicks led 92-90 before Hibbert’s stuff.
”That block, that spearheaded that momentum run that they
made,” Anthony said.
That was the way the quarter went for the NBA’s regular-season
scoring champion. He made 2 of 7 shots in the final 12 minutes,
scored four points and committed three turnovers.
”I don’t think it was fatigue,” Anthony said. ”I don’t think
they made any adjustments. I know it was one shot, a couple shots
that I felt like the ball was almost in.”
New York native Lance Stephenson scored nine points in the run
for the Pacers, finishing with a playoff career-high 25.
With players from both teams standing on the court as the final
seconds ticked off and Pacers fans roaring in appreciation, the
sellout crowd wasted little time breaking into chants of ”Beat The
For Indiana, it sets up a postseason rematch with the defending
NBA champs, the team that eliminated them last May after the Pacers
had taken a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven semifinals. The Heat
wound up winning Game 4 at Indiana and followed that with two more
wins as Danny Granger struggled with a knee injury.
Indiana used the lessons from that series as motivation to
improve this season and wound up beating the Heat twice at home
before losing the third game of the season series at Miami. The
Pacers will return to South Florida for Game 1 on Wednesday
With Granger missing all but five games this season because of
the lingering knee injury, the Pacers put an even greater emphasis
on playing defense and it showed.
Indiana led the league in rebounding, defensive field goal
percentage and defensive 3-point percentage while finishing second
in points allowed per game during the regular season. It was no
different in the playoffs, as the Knicks found out.
New York had another subpar shooting night Saturday, making just
40 percent of its shots, and again wound up on the wrong side of a
43-36 rebounding discrepancy. In the paint, New York was outscored
52-20, and Anthony, who finished with 39 points, scored just four
points in the final 12 minutes when he went 2 of 7 from the
Iman Shumpert added 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and J.R.
Smith scored 15. Nobody else was in double figures.
The combination, as it had been in the previous three losses to
Indiana, produced the same frustrating result.
”They have a hell of a defense. They hold down the paint. They
do a great job, do a hell of a job of controlling the paint,
closing it down, making it tough for guys,” Anthony said. ”You’ve
got to give them guys credit, especially when they got a chance to
set. Roy Hibbert gets to sit in the paint, causes havoc.”
It’s not just that.
The biggest question coming into Saturday’s game was whether
starting point guard George Hill would play. He took part in the
team’s morning shootaround, was cleared by the team doctors and
wound up returning two days after missing Game 5 with a concussion.
His return gave the Pacers a big boost.
Hill finished with just 12 points on 2-of-10 shooting but had
five rebounds and four assists, and kept the Pacers composed enough
to commit only nine turnovers – 10 fewer than Thursday night’s loss
in New York.
The results showed up everywhere on the floor.
George had 23 points, five rebounds and four assists. David West
added 17 points, five rebounds and four assists, and Hibbert
finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, none bigger
than the stuff on Anthony that changed the game. Stephenson had 10
rebounds and three assists in his best postseason game ever.
The reason: He wanted to avoid a trip home.
”I just didn’t want to go back to New York and play Game 7,”
Stephenson said. ”Just get it done with now and I’d do whatever it
takes to do that today. It showed tonight.”
The New York native made sure of it.
After George grabbed the rebound off of Hibbert’s block,
Stephenson took a pass from West and scored on a layup to tie the
score at 92 with 4:51 left in the game. Stephenson followed that
with a steal and drove in for a layup, drawing a foul and
completing a three-point play. After grabbing another rebound and
making two more free throws, West tipped in a miss and Stephenson
closed the decisive spurt with another layup. Suddenly, the Pacers
led 101-94 with 1:53 to go.
New York never got another chance to tie the score or take the
lead again despite making a far more typical 13 of 30 from 3-point
”It’s tough to go out this way,” coach Mike Woodson said. ”I
didn’t make it happen for us and that’s what’s disappointing.”
The Pacers have a far different goal now as they get ready to
face LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Miami.
”We’re not satisfied with where we’re at,” coach Frank Vogel
said. ”We feel like there’s no ceiling on this team this
Notes: New York failed to become the ninth team to rally from a
3-1 deficit. … Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter made the
short trip from the track to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where he is a
regular attendee. … Colts coach Chuck Pagano also attended the
game. … The Knicks were 18 of 18 from the free throw line.