Indiana Pacers survive tight fourth quarter to take down New York Knicks in Game 3

The Pacers hosted the Knicks on Friday night
May 10, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) shoots the ball against the New York Knicks.
May 10, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) shoots the ball against the New York Knicks. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers hosted the New York Knicks for Game 3 of their second-round playoffs series on Friday night. It was a massive game for the blue and gold, who were down 0-2 in the best-of-seven set and needed to get back on track.

Both of the first two games were close in the fourth quarter, but Indiana wasn't able to get it done. They hoped to find better solutions defending star guard Jalen Brunson, and they needed to play with consistent force for 48 minutes. The Knicks had been more physical in the second half of both of the first two games.

To get things going, New York scored first. But the crowd was into the game, booing the officials and Brunson early, and they were amped to see Indiana knot things up across the next few possessions. The game was a grind, but the blue and gold had a lead after 2.5 minutes.

Star guard Tyrese Haliburton got going across the next few minutes. His passing looked strong, and with about eight minutes to go, he knocked down two-straight outside shots. They pushed Indiana's lead up to 12-4, and the Knicks took a timeout in response.

The stoppage turned the game into more of a back-and-forth battle, but that favored Indiana. They were already ahead and were more than content to trade baskets. Haliburton and Myles Turner made timely plays for the Pacers.

With 4:09 to go in the first period, the blue and gold took a timeout leading 20-12. Their defense had taken a small step back from their strong start, but they were still doing well to punish the Knicks on the other end. Brunson had already exited the game after a shorter early stint, which was noteworthy for both teams.

The early score margin proved to be important. Even as the Knicks brought in Brunson against the Pacers second unit, the hosts kept their lead. Aaron Nesmith was making several big plays for the blue and gold early, including an important steal late in the first period.

After one frame, Indiana led 29-20. Their defense stood out in the first 12 minutes of play as they held the Knicks to poor shooting numbers. The Pacers conceded over 120 points in each of the first two games this series, so they had to feel much better about their start. Haliburton led the way with 10 points at the time.

To knick off the second frame, the Pacers continued to hold their edge. For the first two-ish minutes of play, they remained up by eight.

But New York stuck with it. Donte DiVincenzo got hot, and Brunson got a few shots to drop. The visitors were rolling on the defensive end, and they quickly trimmed their deficit dramatically. With the margin down to two, the Pacers took a timeout.

The Knicks scored on their next possession and were fouled in the process, so they took a 36-35 lead. It was their first advantage since early in the game. But fortunately for the Pacers, Haliburton had just checked back in.

Indiana's star guard hit two threes soon after his team fell behind, and they led by five. The Pacers needed that stretch. Their star was guiding them to that point, and he was up to a game-high 16 points with 6:38 to go in the first half.

The Pacers lead reached eight again, but the Knicks quickly erased it. It was tied at 46 with about five minutes to go until halftime, which was a perfect summation of the series so far. It has been impossible for either team to create any separation on the scoreboard.

Haliburton kept rolling, reaching 23 points with about two minutes to go in the half. Indiana was up six at the time, and New York took a timeout. They needed better answers for the star guard, who was headed toward his second big game in a row.

The final moments of the half were a deadlock again, and the Pacers led 63-58 at halftime. Haliburton had 23 points, and Turner as well as Pascal Siakam both had 12. That's Indiana's big three, and they played like it.

To get the second half going, the Pacers were effective. They scored four points in 78 seconds to start the half, and the Knicks took a quick timeout trailing by nine. Head coach Tom Thibodeau needed to regroup with his team.

The Pacers were the better group coming out of that timeout. Thanks to their stars, they went on a run. Haliburton hit a corner three, then Siakam did too. Not long after, Siakam scored again. Suddenly, Indiana found themselves up by 11, which was near their biggest advantage of the night.

New York, as they do, responded. DiVincenzo was on fire again, and Brunson had little trouble getting to his spots. Those two guided a run that helped the Knicks chop the lead down over and over, and they found themselves down by one with DiVincenzo racing ahead in transition.

He scored and drew a foul, and he was up to 32 points after the free throw. Moments later, the Pacers took a timeout trailing 87-83. Their bench was playing poorly, and it was perhaps their worst second-unit stretch of the series to that point.

The break didn't change much. New York closed the third period on a 24-8 run, and they were ahead 90-85 after three frames. DiVincenzo was up to 32 points and had six made threes to carry the Knicks to that point.

To get the final period going, the Knicks kept rolling. Their five-point lead was up to six after 3.5 minutes, and their three-point shooting was a big factor. New York was 13/20 from deep at the time and was generating many good looks. Their shooting throughout the series has been tremendous.

Haliburton hit his stride in the next few minutes, and it helped trim the Pacers deficit. He scored a few times in a row, which cut New York's lead down to two with about 7.5 minutes left. The star guard had 35 points at the time.

Indiana kept chipping at the Knicks edge. Minute-by-minute, the margin narrowed, and they were able to tie the game with about six minutes to go. Not long after, Siakam knocked in a free throw to give the Pacers a 100-99 lead with 5:42 left in the game. It was going to be another epic finish, and the clash in styles would be everything.

The 100-99 scoreline remained with 4:23 to go, and it became tough for either team to score. The pressure was on, and each possession was slow and methodical. Both teams turned up the defensive intensity, and it was only 102-101 in favor of the hosts with 3:15 to go.

Two Knicks free throws combined with an Andrew Nembhard layup had the score at 104-103 in favor of the Pacers with 1:45 left on the clock. They needed to close this game strong if they wanted a chance in the series.

Brunson and Siakam traded buckets, and the score was tied in the final 30 seconds. The Pacers struggled to generate a good look, but with the shot clock winding down, Nembhard rose up and drilled a deep three to give his team a 109-106 lead. There were 16.4 seconds left.

Indiana got a stop, meaning they would have a chance to put the game away at the foul line. Nesmith went to the line for two attempts, and he made both to seal the victory.

The final score was 111-106. Haliburton finished with 35 points and seven assists. Turner had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Siakam added 26 points.

Game 4 is on Sunday.

  • Myles Turner finally reached the conference semifinals after a winding career with the Indiana Pacers. CLICK HERE.
  • The Indiana Pacers were hit hard with the New York Knicks style to start the series. They need to hit back. CLICK HERE.
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle unhappy with officiating vs Knicks, team submits clips to NBA. CLICK HERE.
  • Indiana Pacers fall apart in second half again and drop Game 2 to New York Knicks, trail 0-2 in series. CLICK HERE.
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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.