The New York Knicks came alive in front of their home crowd and avoided elimination by beating the Pacers 85-75 on Thursday,sending their NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series back to Indiana for Game Six.
Led by 28 points from league scoring champion Carmelo Anthony,the Knicks played with desperation and fierce determination on defense to narrow the deficit on Thursday to 3-2 in their best-of-seven series,which resumes on Saturday.
New York forced 19 turnovers and registered a dozen steals,double that of the Pacers,answering the Madison Square Garden chant of Defense,Defense.
The Knicks bench outscored the undermanned Pacers 35-10 with JR Smith coming out of a slump to contribute 13 points and 29-year-old rookie Chris Copeland adding 13 points and a dose of high energy.
Playing without starting point guard George Hill,who suffered a concussion in Indianas Game Four victory,the Pacers were led by Paul Georges 23 points with David West adding 17.
New York coach Mike Woodson said winning in Indianapolis was a tough task as his team went 0-4 there this season,but the challenge could be met with the defensive intensity the Knicks brought in Thursdays do-or-die game.
San Antonio advance
The San Antonio Spurs advanced to the Western Conference finals after closing out the Golden State Warriors 94-82 in Game Six of their semi-final series.
Led by Tim Duncans 19 points,the second-seeded Spurs claimed victory on the road in Oakland to seal a 4-2 triumph in the best-of-seven series and set up a showdown against the fifth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. All five Spurs starters contributed to the victory by registering double figure scores.