Indiana Pacers crushed on the glass in Game 5 loss vs New York Knicks, down 2-3 in series

The Pacers were back in the Garden on Tuesday
May 14, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) drives to the basket versus Jalen Brunson (11) of the New York Knicks.
May 14, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) drives to the basket versus Jalen Brunson (11) of the New York Knicks. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — The New York Knicks hosted the Indiana Pacers for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series on Tuesday night. It was a pivotal game in a 2-2 series, with the home team taking every game so far.

New York has been dealing with injury issues throughout the series, which has made it challenging for them to make dramatic adjustments. For this game, though, they changed their opening lineup and hoped to get back on track. They entered the day having dropped the last two games in the series.

The Pacers did well to execute their offense early. They were sharing the ball, and four different starters scored in the first three minutes of action. It was a solid open for the blue and gold, though their defense wasn't where it needed to be. It was 9-7 after three minutes.

Indiana continued to play well across the next few possessions, but they weren't grabbing enough rebounds to finish off plays. Despite shooting much better from the field than the Knicks, the Pacers weren't expanding their lead. It was 20-16 after seven minutes of action in favor of the visitors.

The Knicks kept fighting, though, and they cut the Pacers edge down to one at 25-24 later in the quarter. Their offense started to hum when they got stops and attacked the paint. Indiana wasn't helping themselves — they went through a three possession span with an offensive foul and two turnovers.

That, combined with Knicks baskets, let the hosts go on an 11-0 during which Indiana took three timeouts. They didn't help much, and it was 31-25 late in the frame in favor of New York. The Pacers needed to stabilize badly.

Obi Toppin ended that run at the foul line, but the Pacers had lost their groove. They needed to find a stride on defense to get back in the game. That's how they won Game 4 in Indianapolis.

Instead, New York kept scoring. They finished the opening frame with 38 points, 11 more than they had in any period on Sunday. They were ahead 38-32 at the time. Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart each had 10 points for the Knicks while Pascal Siakam had seven for Indiana.

It only took two possessions of the second quarter for New York to take a 10-point lead. They were rolling after a slower start, and the crowd was into the game. The Pacers needed to get their mojo back, and fast.

The Pacers continued to remain close on the scoreboard, but just after cutting the advantage to eight at 46-38, the Knicks went on an 8-2 run. That pushed their lead to 14, and Indiana took another timeout. Brunson was up to 22 points at the time. He was rolling.

Rebounding was a pitiful trend for the Pacers for much of the first half. With about 4.5 minutes to go in the second quarter, the Pacers had seven total rebounds while the Knicks had 12 on just the offensive end — they had 23 total. That gave the home team many extra chances, and it was adding up fast.

Rick Carlisle ended up taking five timeouts in the first half. He needed to reset things with his team often with how bad they were playing defensively. Indiana was changing their lineups and tempo, but it wasn't putting a dent in the scoreboard.

Near the end of the half, the Pacers trimmed the lead slightly from 18. But New York hit back, and it was 69-54 at halftime. The Knicks dominance on the glass and lead in the turnover battle was vital — they took 15 more shots than the Pacers in the first half.

To kick off the third quarter, the Pacers got hot from deep. Myles Turner drilled an outside shot on three-straight possessions, and that helped cut the lead from 16 down to seven. New York took a timeout to stop the bleeding. The Pacers were right back in the game.

They fell right back out of it. Over the next three-ish minutes, the Knicks went on a 10-1 run. It ended with an avalanche as New York hit consecutive threes to take an 80-64 lead. Indiana took another timeout. They looked off again.

That advantage kept growing. It reached 20 a few possessions later for the first time of the game, and the Knicks showed no signs of slowing down. They were playing a terrific game and had the needed intensity to keep the Pacers away.

As the quarter progressed, that continued. Their edge climbed over 20, and the game got chippy at times. It did little to change the flow of the action. With 3:30 to go in the third period, New York led by 23 points. Indiana's offense looked awful.

When the third quarter ended, the Knicks led 96-75. They were dominating the game in every way — defensively, on the glass, and from an efficiency perspective. Brunson had 35 points to lead all scorers.

The Pacers came out hot in the fourth quarter, and they quickly chopped the deficit down to 12 thanks to a 9-0 run. The Knicks hit a few shots in response to keep Indiana away, but it was suddenly a more manageable scoreline for the Pacers. They still needed to be basically perfect the rest of the way.

Yet New York responded. Their lead was back to 20 with 7.5 minutes to go in the game as they continued to impose their style on the Pacers. They took a timeout with a 106-86 lead and 6:24 remaining in the battle.

Brunson continued to control the game. He reached 40 points in the quarter and was successful as a passer in the game as well. Indiana couldn't stop him all night, and it was going to cost them. New York was up by more than 20 with three minutes to go and just needed to coast across the finish line.

They did so. The final score was 121-91 in favor of the Knicks. New York took a 3-2 series lead and now needs just one win in the final two games of the series to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Siakam finished with 22 points and eight rebounds. Star guard Tyrese Haliburton was limited to nine shots and had 13 points. Turner added 16.

The series now shifts back to Indianapolis for Game 6, which is on Friday.


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Published
Tony East

TONY EAST

Tony East is the Publisher of AllPacers. He has previously written for Forbes Sports, the West Indianapolis Community News, WTHR, and more while hosting the Locked On Pacers podcast.