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Pacers storm Knicks 130-109 in the Garden, advance to Eastern Conference Finals

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For the first time in a decade, the Indiana Pacers are going to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Pacers made history on May 19, defeating the New York Knicks 130-109 in a decisive Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. The victory thrusts the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2014, where they will face the No. 1 seed Boston Celtics.

Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers on May 17, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/Walt Thomas)
Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) and Knicks forward Josh Hart (3) scramble for possession over a loose ball during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 17, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/Walt Thomas)

The Pacers’ win was an excellent showing in offensive efficiency, setting an NBA playoff record with a blistering 67.1% shooting from the field. This historic performance included a spectacular 76% shooting display in the first half, a feat not seen in 25 years, according to ESPN.

Point guard Tyrese Haliburton led a balanced Pacers attack with 26 points, with an additional five players finishing in double figures. Their depth and versatility proved too much for the Knicks, who fought valiantly but were hampered by injuries.

Following the win, Haliburton pointed out how the sports scene in Indiana is enjoying a moment.

“Indy is going to be cracking … that is going to be a crazy day to be in Indy, especially with the excitement of the Indy 500 and then to have our game to cap off the day. That is really exciting for our city,” Haliburton said. “There are a lot of exciting things going on in Indiana right now. We are excited to be a part of it.”

Road to the Finals: Pacers’ bench best Bucks, leads team to Eastern Conference Semifinals

Veteran point guard T.J. McConnell was also a critical component in the Pacers’ victory, notching 12 points and seven assists off the bench.

Haliburton spoke about the impact of McConnell and the Pacers’ bench.

“We have the best bench in the NBA,” he said. “We’re the deepest team in the NBA. We have five or six guys ready on the bench at all times, ready to answer the call when need be, I think that is what separates us from everybody.”

New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers, Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, on May 12, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo taken by Walt Thomas.
Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) and Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers on May 12, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/Walt Thomas)

Pacers center Myles Turner — who finished the night with 17 points, five rebounds and four blocks — spoke about the consensus of sports analysts picking the Pacers to lose the series before it even started.

“They didn’t (pick the Pacers to win the series),” Turner said, invoking a laugh from the room. “I have picture proof.”

Knicks guard Jalen Brunson finished the contest with 17 points and nine assists before exiting the game with a fractured left hand.

Shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo led the Knicks with a game-high 39 points, while guard Alec Burks added 26 off the bench.

Despite the loss, the Knicks received a standing ovation from those in the Garden, acknowledging their resilience in a hard-fought seven games.

The Pacers now shift their focus to the Celtics, known for their defensive prowess and disciplined play. This clash of styles, pitting the Pacers’ offensive firepower and bench depth against the Celtics’ defensive prowess will likely make for a captivating Eastern Conference Finals.

“Understand that we are not done yet,” Haliburton said. “We still have another series, possibly two to go, but it starts with Boston, and I think we all are excited about that challenge.”

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals is at 8 p.m. on May 21 at TD Garden in Boston, MA.


Contact multi-media and senior sports reporter Noral Parham III at (317)-762-7846 or via email at noralp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral. For more Pacers news courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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