Knicks vs. Pacers score: Indiana wins Game 7 with hot shooting display as New York falls short of ECF again

The Indiana Pacers eliminated the New York Knicks with a 130-109 victory in Game 7 of their second-round NBA playoff series on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The Pacers, who had a historic offensive performance, ran away from the undermanned Knicks, who lost star guard Jalen Brunson to a hand injury in the second half. The Pacers are moving on to face the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. The Knicks have still not made the conference finals since 2000.

The Pacers had no Game 7 jitters on Sunday. Indiana shot 67.1% from the floor for the game, the best field-goal percentage by a team in any playoff game in NBA history. The Pacers could barely miss in the first half, shooting 76.3% from the field in the first 24 minutes and recording 39 first-quarter points --  the most by any team in any quarter in a Game 7.

Tyrese Haliburton had 26 points to lead the Pacers, who saw every starter score at least 17 points. Pascal Siakam and Andrew Nembhard both added 20 points, while T.J. McConnell had 12 points and seven assists in 23 minutes off the bench.

Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo had a game-high 39 points. He hit nine 3-pointers in the loss -- the most ever in a Game 7 by one player.

Both Josh Hart (abdomen) and OG Anunoby (hamstring) started the game for the Knicks after being listed as questionable. Anunoby hit a few early shots, but ended up playing just four minutes before he was shut down. Hart had 10 points in 36 minutes, but missed all four of his 3-point attempts. Brunson had 17 points and nine assists before fracturing his left hand in the second half.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Game 7:

A shooting performance for the ages

Here are a smattering of statistics about Indiana's legendary shooting performance in Game 7:

  • The Pacers shot 67.1% from the field. That is the best field goal percentage any team has ever posted in NBA playoff history. It is six full percentage points higher than any team has ever posted in a Game 7, with the previous record belonging the 2005-06 Phoenix Suns against the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • The Pacers shot 13-of-24 on 3-pointers, or roughly 54%. That is the fifth-best mark in Game 7 history among teams to attempt at least 20 3's.
  • The Pacers shot 76.3% from the field in the first half. That is the best field goal percentage any playoff team has ever posted in a half during the play-by-play era, which dates back to the 1996-97 season.
  • Only one Pacer shot below 50% from the field (Obi Toppin at 1-of-4). Meanwhile, as many Pacers shot 100% from the field (Andrew Nembhard went 8-of-8).
  • Every Pacers starter shot at least 50% from 3-point range. As a group they shot 13-of-22 from deep. All five Pacer starters scored at least 17 points.
  • Only four teams had ever scored 130 points in a Game 7 prior to Sunday. They all needed at least 38 free-throw attempts. The Pacers needed 16.
  • The Pacers made 53 total field goals on Sunday. That is the second most any team has ever made in a Game 7, trailing only the 1969-70 Lakers over the Suns.

We could go on and on and on. The Knicks and Pacers had two full weeks to adjust to one another. They both threw every conceivable adjustment at their opponent. What Game 7 ultimately came down to was a shooting performance for the ages. There was just nothing the Knicks could have done in the wake of such a performance.

One injury too many

Let's take a look at the injury tally for New York in this series:

  • Julius Randle and Bojan Bogdanovic never played.
  • Mitchell Robinson played a bit less than 12 minutes in Game 1 before succumbing to an ankle injury.
  • OG Anunoby played most of the first two games before a hamstring injury knocked him out. He played the opening minutes of Game 7, making two contested jumpers, before it became clear that he was not physically capable of continuing.
  • Josh Hart suffered an abdominal strain in Game 6 that limited him in Game 7.
  • Jalen Brunson missed parts of Game 2 (sore foot) and Game 7 (fractured left hand).

The only players from New York's rotation in Game 1 of this postseason not known to have suffered an injury during the playoffs were Donte DiVincenzo, Deuce McBride and Isaiah Hartenstein, who played most of the end of this season through an Achilles injury.

Injuries are a part of the game. Indiana advanced fair and square. But we need to take a moment to acknowledge just how incredible this run was for the Knicks. Despite all of those injuries and a historic shooting half from Indiana, the Knicks still managed to cut the Pacer lead down to just six in the third quarter. They were in this thing pretty much until the end despite running out of healthy bodies.

What single injury meant the most? Probably Anunoby's. He held Pascal Siakam below 20 points in Games 1 and 2. Siakam proceeded to score at least 20 in four of the next five games. The Knicks often responded by throwing doubles at him, which opened up passing lanes for everybody else. Yet the Knicks won Game 5 without Anunoby. Perhaps if Brunson and Hart were at full strength in Game 7, they could have won despite Anunoby's absence. Either way, they came closer than they had any right to considering the injuries they endured in this series.

Indiana's defense will have to be better against Boston

The Pacers played the Celtics five times in the regular season. The Celtics posted an absurd offensive rating of 126 in this five games. For reference, the Celtics just posted the best regular-season offensive rating in NBA history at 122.2 this season. When these two teams met up, Indiana stood no chance defensively.

The good news for the Pacers is that they theoretically match up well with Boston stylistically. No team attempts more 3-pointers than the Celtics. No team allows fewer 3-pointers than the Pacers. Boston has a tendency of over-relying on jumpers. If they aren't willing to get to the rim in this series, where Indiana is at its most vulnerable, maybe the Pacers can keep this thing close.

But the Pacers struggled to defend a Knicks team with one offensive star in Jalen Brunson. The Celtics have several, and Aaron Nesmith, formerly a Celtics castoff, can only guard one of them. Remember all of those possessions throughout this series in which the Pacers tried to hide Tyrese Haliburton on lesser threats? Well, in the Boston matchup, those threats are Derrick White and Jrue Holiday.

Indiana catches a bit of a break in the form of Kristaps Porzingis' injury. He'll miss the beginning of this series, and without him, the Celtics lose their middle-of-the-court cheat code. When all else fails offensively, Porzingis can shoot mid-range jumpers over anybody just to right the ship. With Al Horford in his place, the Celtics look a bit more one-dimensional. That one dimension has still been historically great this season. Indiana can't expect to face the Celtics with the same level of defensive intensity that they brought into the Knicks series and come out ahead.

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FINAL: Pacers 130, Knicks 109

For the first time in this second-round series, the road team has won. The Indiana Pacers are heading to the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, and they did it behind a legendary offensive performance. The Pacers shot 53-of-79 from the floor, or roughly 67%, and 13-of-24 from deep, or roughly 54%. It was one of the best offensive performances in Game 7 history, and now the Pacers will face the Boston Celtics with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.

May 19, 2024, 10:06 PM
May. 19, 2024, 6:06 pm EDT
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The Knicks just won't go away

Give the Knicks credit. No matter who they lose, they just keep fighting back. The lead is down to 13 with under seven minutes to play thanks to 24 points out of Alec Burks. The Knicks probably aren't going to win, but it says something about this team that they can lose basically the entire roster and fight this hard until the end of a Game 7.

May 19, 2024, 9:49 PM
May. 19, 2024, 5:49 pm EDT
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Jalen Brunson has a fractured left hand

That might be checkmate for the Knicks. Jalen Brunson has a fractured left hand, according ton Knicks PR. He is out for the remainder of the game, and if by some miracle the Knicks managed to come back in this game, they'd surely be without him for longer as well. With the Pacers up 16 with only 9:22 remaining, it looks like New York's injury-plagued run is finally coming to a close.

May 19, 2024, 9:41 PM
May. 19, 2024, 5:41 pm EDT
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Now Donte DiVincenzo is shaken up

This is getting ridiculous. OG Anunoby has already been ruled out. Jalen Brunson is in the locker room. Now Donte DiVincenzo is holding his abdomen in seeming pain. Their season is likely about to end, but on the off chance it doesn't, the Knicks may not have a single healthy player for the next round.

May 19, 2024, 9:32 PM
May. 19, 2024, 5:32 pm EDT
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Jalen Brunson back in the locker room

Well, this isn't a good development for the Knicks. Jalen Brunson has gone back to the locker room with the fourth quarter nearing. His father, assistant coach Rick Brunson, has reportedly gone with him. It is unclear what exactly has him out, but the Knicks obviously need him if they are going to really go for this comeback.

Update: Tom Thibodeau had no updates during his interview at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

May 19, 2024, 9:30 PM
May. 19, 2024, 5:30 pm EDT
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Has this been the killing blow?

The Knicks cut this lead down to 73-67 at one point, but a 19-7 run has Indiana's lead back up to 18 as we near the end of the third quarter. The key for Indiana has been defense. The Pacers have generated four huge turnovers in the last few minutes that have powered this run, and if they can maintain this defensive intensity, they're going to the Eastern Conference Finals.

May 19, 2024, 9:26 PM
May. 19, 2024, 5:26 pm EDT
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What a response from the Pacers

The Knicks kicked off their comeback attempt on defense. They'd generated 10 turnovers early while the Pacers had created only two. Indiana finally responds with back-to-back steals followed by a five-second violation of their own, and that leads to seven points that push their seven-point lead back up to 14. Indiana's pass-heavy play-style carries inherent risk. Their defense has to play with energy to make up the turnovers that arise out of that.

May 19, 2024, 9:17 PM
May. 19, 2024, 5:17 pm EDT
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The Knicks are right back in this thing

It's only a 4-0 run, but in conjunction with their strong end to the second quarter, the Knicks have cut the once-22-point deficit down to 11. The Pacers haven't scored in the second half after making everything in the first. Winning a road Game 7 is never easy. The Knicks are going to make the Pacers earn this one.

May 19, 2024, 9:07 PM
May. 19, 2024, 5:07 pm EDT
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OG Anunoby is out for the game

He gave it his best shot, but OG Anunoby just isn't healthy enough to play in this game. The key Knicks forward started Game 7 and made his first two shots, but he clearly was not able to run comfortably, and after a few early minutes on the floor, he is done for the rest of the day due to that hamstring strain that has limited him all series.

May 19, 2024, 9:04 PM
May. 19, 2024, 5:04 pm EDT
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Halftime: Pacers 70, Knicks 55

The lead for Indiana has been as high as 22, but we've seen signs of life from the Knicks down the stretch of the second quarter. Alec Burks kept them alive early, and Jalen Brunson finally started scoring late. The Pacers are firmly in control here, but the Knicks have managed to stay alive as they head to the locker room.

May 19, 2024, 8:46 PM
May. 19, 2024, 4:46 pm EDT
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Successful challenge for the Knicks

Even though Tyrese Haliburton was blocked on that layup attempt, replay showed that the ball clearly touched him last. Tom Thibodeau successfully challenges for possession, but it's a low-stakes challenge as it doesn't even prevent free throws. Still, with the Knicks trailing by 19, they're grasping for any momentum they can find.

May 19, 2024, 8:40 PM
May. 19, 2024, 4:40 pm EDT
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Foul trouble for Isaiah Hartenstein

We've seen a lot of Precious Achiuwa in this first half, and fouls have been the biggest reason why. Isaiah Hartenstein picked up two quick fouls, spent a long time on the bench, checked back in, and almost immediately committed his third foul on that Myles Turner layup. He goes to the bench for presumably the remainder of the first half.

May 19, 2024, 8:36 PM
May. 19, 2024, 4:36 pm EDT
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Alec Burks giving the Knicks life

The Knicks needed someone to get the crowd back into this game. It turns out, the player to do it wasn't even in the rotation when the series began. Alec Burks scored nine quick points, and then added another more at the foul line to cut the deficit to 17. The Knicks still have a long way to go, but this might be a 30-point game right now if not for Burks. He's kept them within striking distance.

May 19, 2024, 8:28 PM
May. 19, 2024, 4:28 pm EDT
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Pacers shooting numbers:

  • Only one Pacer is shooting less than 50% from the floor. That's Obi Toppin... at 0-for-1.
  • The Pacers have more players shooting 100% (five) than not (four).
  • Only two Pacers (Tyrese Haliburton with seven and Pascal Siakam with six) have taken more than three shots.
  • As a team, the Pacers are up to 80% from the floor (20-of-25) and 77.8% from 3 (7-of-9).
May 19, 2024, 8:19 PM
May. 19, 2024, 4:19 pm EDT
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Will we see OG Anunoby again?

OG Anunoby played the first few minutes, made two contested jumpers, and we haven't seen him since. He clearly wasn't moving well, so that's not a surprise, but this is the story to watch as Game 7 continues. The Knicks need a spark somewhere. Could it come from Anunoby?

May 19, 2024, 8:15 PM
May. 19, 2024, 4:15 pm EDT
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What a first quarter shooting display from Indiana

It's 39-27 Pacers after one quarter. Indiana is shooting 16-of-21 from the floor and 7-of-9 from deep. That may not be sustainable, but it's given Indiana a critical cushion here in the early going. Now it's on the depleted Knicks to respond.

May 19, 2024, 8:08 PM
May. 19, 2024, 4:08 pm EDT
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A Tyrese Haliburton barrage

Tyrese Haliburton has struggled to bring proper aggression to this series, and we saw that a few minutes ago with that totally unnecessary jump pass in which he desperately looked for a target mid-air instead of just shooting. Well, since then, he's scored eight points including two deep 3's. He needs to look to score more inside, but he's been so good from outside today that the Pacers have built a 34-22 lead.

May 19, 2024, 8:04 PM
May. 19, 2024, 4:04 pm EDT
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Carlisle's risk pays off; double technical

Huge risk by Rick Carlisle to challenge that Tyrese Haliburton foul on Donte DiVincenzo, but it pays off. The challenge is successful and the foul is overturned. Pacers get possession, and they maintain a bit of breathing room on the Knicks. However, that little skirmish that came after the timeout has earned DiVincenzo and Pascal Siakam technical fouls.

May 19, 2024, 7:58 PM
May. 19, 2024, 3:58 pm EDT
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Donte DiVincenzo leading the Knicks, Pascal Siakam leading the Pacers

Donte DiVincenzo may be the healthiest Knick, and he's showing it. He's made his first three 3-point attempts, and the Knicks are looking for him whenever possible. Pascal Siakam, meanwhile, has made his first five shots for 11 quick points. This is one of the highest-scoring Game 7 starts we've ever seen. Nobody is tight.

May 19, 2024, 7:53 PM
May. 19, 2024, 3:53 pm EDT
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The Knicks are already struggling with more pain

Someone is in pain every time down the floor. We've seen OG Anunoby struggle to run with a normal gait. Josh Hart is playing through an abdominal strain. Isaiah Hartenstein has grabbed his side. Donte DiVincenzo grabbed at his back. No Knick is making it through this series unscathed.

May 19, 2024, 7:48 PM
May. 19, 2024, 3:48 pm EDT
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Welcome back, OG

The eary story of Game 7? Two huge early jumpers by OG Anunoby, both of which have been contested. He isn't moving especially well, but if he can at least make shots, he can give the Knicks valuable minutes. Even the occasional rest for the other starters and getting Precious Achiuwa out of the rotation would be a big help.

May 19, 2024, 7:45 PM
May. 19, 2024, 3:45 pm EDT
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About 10 minutes to tip-off

We're close to Game 7 at the Garden. Jalen Brunson is ready.

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Hart and Anunoby good to go

Both OG Anunoby and Josh Hart will be available today for the Knicks. As Josh Hart said, "this is Game 7 in the Garden."

Both players went through warmups before being deemed good to go. It remains to be seen how close to 100% either player will be, but the banged-up Knicks will take any depth they can get. Here's more:

Knicks injuries: OG Anunoby and Josh Hart will play in Game 7 vs. Pacers
Sam Quinn
Knicks injuries: OG Anunoby and Josh Hart will play in Game 7 vs. Pacers
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Game 7 history

  • The Knicks are 5-2 all-time in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden.
  • This is the Knicks' first Game 7 at home in 10,592 days -- nearly 29 full years. They lost, coincidentally enough, to the Pacers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on May 21, 1995.
  • Pacers are 3-6 all-time in Game 7s and 1-5 in their last six Game 7s on the road.
  • Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is 1-0 all-time in Game 7s (beat the Nets in the first round when he coached the Bulls in 2013).
  • Pacers coach Rick Carlisle is 2-2 all-time in Game 7s. His last Game 7 win came with the Pacers in 2005 against the Celtics.
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Game 7 info

We're about 40 minutes away from tip-off at Madison Square Garden. Here's everything to know about Sunday's Game 7.

Time: 3:30 p.m ET | Date: Sunday, May 19
Location: Madison Square Garden -- New York
TV channel: ABC | Streaming: ESPN/fubo
Odds: IND +135, NYK -160, O/U: 208

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Hart's sense of humor is just fine

Hart had an important update on his also-banged-up teammate ahead of Game 7.

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Hart, Anunoby expected to play

The Knicks are expected to have two key pieces available for Sunday's Game 7. Josh Hart and OG Anunoby are both expected to suit up and go through warm-ups ahead of tip-off. Hart spoke with reporters and said he envisions giving it a shot.

"This is Game 7 in the Garden," Hart said.

Hart hurt his abdomen in Friday's Game 6 loss. Anunoby has been out since Game 2, when he suffered a hamstring strain.

Here's more on their statuses:

Knicks injuries: OG Anunoby and Josh Hart will play in Game 7 vs. Pacers
Sam Quinn
Knicks injuries: OG Anunoby and Josh Hart will play in Game 7 vs. Pacers