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Pacers Keys to A Game Five Victory Over the Knicks

May 12, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) celebrates a made basket during game four of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the New York Knicks at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

After losing the first two games of their second-round playoff matchup to the New York Knicks, the Indiana Pacers had their backs against the wall. They won two straight games over the Knicks this past weekend, and the momentum has now swung back in Indiana’s favor. Their shots have been falling and they have been the tougher team throughout these last two games. Additionally, with the series now tied at two games apiece, it becomes an even bigger chess match between these two coaches.

In the last two games, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle has made big defensive scheme adjustments that has stifled the Knicks’ explosive offense. As the series shifts back to New York, he will need to continue to make those adjustments if he wants to put his team in the best position to steal game five tonight.

Pacers Keys to A Game Five Victory Over the Knicks

Pacers Must Win Rebounding Battle and the 50/50 Balls

During this series, in the previous four games, the team that won the rebounding battle won the game. The Pacers were finally able to turn that battle in their favor. They were able to box out New York’s players and be the first to the floor for loose balls as well. Indiana being the tougher team has given them the momentum heading into tonight’s game five.

Additionally, for them to maintain their momentum, the Pacers need to communicate with each other and box out. If they continue to take away the Knicks’ ability to get multiple looks at the basket, that takes away an extensive portion of New York’s offense. The Knicks rely on offensive rebounds to subsidize their offense. If that is taken away, they are not good at operating in the half court. New York does not have enough shot creators on their roster to create high-percentage shooting opportunities for themselves or their teammates. If the Pacers can continue to make them a half-court team, they will win tonight’s contest.

Pacers Bench Must Continue to Dominate the Knicks

Indiana has also turned this series around because of their second unit dominating New York’s. Also, the Knicks have had no answer for T J McConnell. He has carved them up in the mid-range throughout this series. Additionally, his ability to attack the basket and create easy opportunities for his teammates has helped the Pacers win the last two games in this series.

The Pacers also have one of the deepest benches of any team left in the playoffs. With the series shifting back to New York, they will need their role players to continue to dominate New York’s. If that trend continues, Indiana will be in decent shape to win tonight.

Tyrese Haliburton Must Be the Best Player on The Court Tonight

 Tyrese Haliburton is one of the rising stars in the league. In the first two games of this series, he played timidly instead of playing aggressively. Indiana’s fortunes really changed when he realized no one can keep up with him in this series. Additionally, when he finally found his scoring prowess, the Knicks had no answers for him. When they would give him more defensive attention, he would use his playmaking ability to create high-percentage opportunities for his teammates.

Haliburton will need to continue to be the best player on the court if the Pacers want to win tonight’s game in Madison Square Garden. He cannot go back to playing timidly tonight and must do everything he can to make a positive impact on the game. The Pacers are at their best when he is active throughout the entire game. An active and dominant Haliburton gives Indiana a great chance to win tonight’s game.


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