By winning Game 5 against the Pacers, the Knicks have turned their series. After it seemed Indiana had a decided advantage, each remaining game is basically a tossup. Both teams could make arguments for why they have the upper hand in Game 6 tonight:
- In the Pacers’ favor: The Knicks are 0-4 at Indiana this season, and the Pacers are 5-0 at home during the playoffs.
- In the Knicks’ favor: New York, despite trailing 3-2, has actually outscored Indiana by seven points in this series.
- In the Pacers’ favor: Paul George has continued to play excellent defense on Carmelo Anthony. Even when Melo scored a game-high 28 points in Game 5, more than twice as many points as any other Knick, he needed 28 shots to get there. The Pacers can’t stop Melo, but they’re doing a good job of containing him.
- In the Knicks’ favor: George Hill might not play will play, but might be limited. Prior to Hill missing Game 5, the Pacers had relied heavily on a Hill-Lance Stephenson-George-David West-Roy Hibbert lineup. In 92 minutes, that unit is +21. In the series’ other 148 minutes, the Pacers are –28. Hill’s replacement, D.J. Augustin, has zero assists in his last two games – 60 minutes of playing time. Without Hill, Indiana’s offense has really sputtered.
This list could continue for a while in what has become a back-and-forth series. But the Knicks, trailing 3-2, need to do better than go back and forth. They must win two straight games – a tough task against a peer team.