One of the biggest question marks going into game six was if Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill would be suiting up for tonights matchup against the Knicks.
George Hill is still a game time decision as he has to undergo the league’s mandatory concussion test to determine if he’ll be able to play in game 6.
- Hill missed game five due to a concussion after a first-quarter collision with Knicks center Tyson Chandler in game 4. Hill finished game 4 with 26 points, but going into game 5 he was still suffering from headaches so the Doctors didn’t clear him to play.
To understand how important Hill is to his team, going into game five he had more points than all the Knicks guards put together. His replacement, D.J. Agustin, played close to 39 minutes in game 5 and had no assists, as the Pacers loss to the Knicks with a final score of 85-75.
If the Knicks look to extend the series to a game 7 they will need all the scoring contribution they can get from 6th man of the year J.R. Smith and point guard Raymond Felton. The two combined for 10-25 shooting for 25 points for the Knicks in game 5. Although that may have did the job for the Knicks at home, don’t expect ten made baskets from the two, and a 40% shooting percentage to do the job at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where the Pacers have yet to lose in this 2013 playoffs, as they have posted a perfect 5-0 record at home.
They say a missed shot is sometimes the best shot for the Pacers, and I couldn’t agree more. One of the reasons the Knicks were able to win game 5 was because of the great job they did on the boards against the Pacers big men. Even though the rebound margin was 43-40 in favor of the Pacers, the Knicks found a way to maintain players like Roy Hibbert and David West from putting back-up easy baskets.
Especially with George Hill’s stays still up in the air for game 6, expect the Pacers to go back to their big man style of play, which has helped them secure this 3-2 series lead in the conference semifinals series against the Knicks. You are always looking for ways to exploit the other team, and the Pacers size and strength are the ways they separate themselves from the Knicks.
I believe the Pacers will win game 6 and set up a rematch with the defending champions Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Last year the Pacers led the Heat 2-1 through the first three games in the conference semifinals, only to have LeBron James and Dwayne Wade double handily take the next three games and the series from them.
But back to tonights game, expect the Pacers to control the tempo and the style of play at home. I just think the Pacers are the better all around team, while the Knicks have struggled to find their identity as a team this whole season. Well the Knicks will have the whole summer to identify who they are, as I believe the final score of game six will be 89-77 in favor of the Pacers.