June 13, 2024

How the Pacers’ out-Knicksed the Knicks in crucial Game 3 win

INDIANAPOLIS — With the shot clock working low on Friday, Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard heeded teammate Tyrese Haliburton’s warning and tried to create some house.

Nembhard attacked Jalen Brunson off the dribble. He pushed his dribble towards the rim and crossed over between his legs earlier than taking an enormous stepback. As he gathered the ball for his shot, Nembhard fumbled it barely however finally settled himself lengthy sufficient to aim a 31-footer, simply earlier than the shot clock buzzer sounded.

With Indiana down two video games to the New York Knicks, the Pacers’ hopes for his or her second-round sequence hung in the steadiness as the basketball Nembhard flung into the air rotated and spun again to Earth. It splashed via the web and the sellout crowd at Gainbridge Fieldhouse erupted as the Pacers took a three-point lead with 16.4 seconds remaining in Game 3.

“The clock was down, and sometimes, in those situations, it frees you up even more,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle mentioned of Nembhard’s 3. “And he just, he just laced it.”


“When I got the ball, I didn’t really realize what the time was,” Nembhard added. “Ty said something. I looked up, and it was like two seconds on the clock, so I just knew I had to get something off. So, I just tried to create a little bit of space and put it up.”

Eventually, after a defensive cease and some free throws, the Pacers grabbed a 111-106 victory, taking their first recreation from New York.

As Knicks guard Josh Hart contemplated Nembhard’s massive shot, he didn’t discover himself offended about its low-percentage probability of falling via the web. Instead, Hart was upset Nembhard had the ball in his fingers to take that shot in the first place.

“At the end of the day, he shouldn’t have got that shot ’cause we should have got a rebound,” Hart mentioned. “We had several chances to get a rebound.”

With their backs in opposition to the wall, the Pacers had been extra determined than the Knicks and ended up profitable in clutch time by beating the Knicks at their very own recreation. Before the sequence, there was intensive dialogue about the groups’ contrasting types. On one hand, the Pacers would attempt to push the tempo and outscore the Knicks, whereas the Knicks would attempt to sluggish it down and grind out victories.

Yet, as the sequence has performed out, the Knicks gained the first two video games by outscoring the Pacers in fast-paced video games that includes high-octane offense, whereas the Pacers took Game 3 by enjoying harder late in the recreation and doing issues like grabbing an offensive rebound to drag out a gritty win.

After an extended night time of chasing Jalen Brunson around and choosing the Knicks star up full-court on each possession, it was solely applicable for Aaron Nesmith to even be the participant that tipped out the rebound to maintain the Pacers alive and provides Nembhard the alternative to take the lead in the remaining 30 seconds.

“You gotta fight,” Nesmith mentioned. “They’re a physical team. We want to win, and you gotta want it more than they do. It’s as simple as that.”

Following a Miles McBride 3-pointer with 9:46 remaining, the Pacers trailed by 9 factors, their largest deficit of the night time. They had already blown a 12-point lead, one thing that has was a development all through the sequence. Yet, as Nesmith described, the Pacers didn’t cease combating.

Through 9 playoff video games, that’s the largest lesson Halliburton feels as if he has discovered in his first playoff run.

“I would just say, more than anything, it’s about just getting to the next play, and that’s responding to something good or something bad,” Haliburton mentioned after Friday’s win. “Honestly, down that stretch, I turned the ball over, I simply needed to get to the subsequent play to get again and attempt to decelerate Josh one way or the other, so Myles (Turner) might get that block.


Haliburton, who ended the night time with 35 factors, 4 rebounds and 7 assists, was spectacular on Friday. The Pacers All-Star level guard spent the night time in assault mode searching for his personal shot and used his aggressiveness to create for himself and teammates, however that doesn’t imply he was excellent.

His turnover with a bit greater than two minutes remaining might have been disastrous if he hung his head following the error. Instead, Haliburton sprinted down the ground and tried to make a play on the ball.

Haliburton’s effort put Turner in a place to dam a shot, which put Haliburton in place to push the ball up the courtroom and create Nembhard’s first basket of the night time with 1:56 remaining.

To shut the recreation, the Pacers performed with the desperation of a group combating for its postseason life, realizing {that a} 3-0 deficit is actually a dying knell for any group in a seven-game sequence. That desperation led to an effort stage that permit them outwork the Knicks, a group constructed on enjoying tougher than each different group on a nightly foundation.

Even when issues went incorrect, the Pacers by no means wavered.

With a one-point lead and 1:45 remaining, Indiana began an offensive possession that ended with a catch-and-shoot search for Nembhard from the proper wing. He missed it, however the Pacers fought for the rebound and created one other possession. Haliburton missed on a drive on that subsequent possession, however Turner grabbed one other offensive rebound. Eventually, the Pacers created a have a look at a catch-and-shoot nook 3 for Nembhard, however he missed and the Knicks took over.

Rather than hold their heads, the Pacers obtained again on protection and saved combating.

Mismatched in transition, Nembhard took up the struggle for Nesmith and stayed in entrance of Brunson, finally forcing the Knicks star into an off-balance floater off a spin transfer and contested by Turner. And off that rebound, even with Nesmith placing one hand up signaling for the Pacers to decelerate, Haliburton acquired the outlet from Turner and made the full-court cross to Pascal Siakam, who had sprinted the ground and scored on a goaltending by the Knicks.

Because, even when the Pacers had been going to seize a gritty, Knicks-style win, they had been going to do it the Pacers approach.

“It was one of the things that we saw in him the first night he played here back in January of ’22,” Carlisle mentioned of Haliburton’s unending dedication to creating the proper cross to his teammates. “He has a pure confidence in the guys which might be on the ground with him. And the approach he delivers the ball brings confidence to the gamers he’s enjoying with.

“Pascal, he’s been right here earlier than, he’s been in video games like this. He didn’t have his finest recreation, however he made some enormous performs that had been extraordinarily essential.

Siakam’s night time wasn’t excellent, however he performed exhausting and completed with 26 factors on 9-of-14 capturing, grabbed seven rebounds and knocked down seven of his 9 free-throw makes an attempt after making solely 14 of 32 (43.8 p.c) in the Pacers’ first eight playoff video games. With that effort, the Pacers got here away with a win.

“Shout out to them, they played well in New York and their physicality and their level, it was tough,” Siakam mentioned. “And I believe we responded a bit bit, and we gotta proceed to do this. And we all know how a lot it’s going to take for us to win these video games, so that ought to simply be our focus. Just one recreation at a time and might’t get forward of ourselves.

It wasn’t fairly, however that doesn’t matter. The Pacers pulled out their first win in the sequence by outworking the Knicks. If they need any probability of tying the sequence on Sunday afternoon, they’re going to need to do it yet again.

(Top picture of Andrew Nembhard: Nathaniel S. Butler / Getty Images)