Only one conference semifinal series remains as the New York Knicks took care of business at home to force their series with the Indiana Pacers to Game 6. The Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies have already moved on.
The Knicks and Pacers have both endured extended dry spells throughout the series. While that's certainly a worrisome sign ahead of a matchup with the defending champion Heat, both teams are just worrying about getting that far.
Indiana gets another chance to close out the series on Saturday, this time on its home floor, while New York wants to send the series back to Madison Square Garden. Let's take a look at all the viewing information for Game 6, followed by a preview and prediction.
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
When: Saturday, May 18 at 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com
Playoff Schedule: Full Listing (via Sports Media Watch)
Turnovers were once again a major issue for the Pacers in Game 5. They turned it over 19 times as compared to just 10 for the Knicks. Combine that with the fact they shot 36 percent from the field and it's easy to see why they scored just 75 points.
It would be easy to point to the absence of point guard George Hill, who missed the contest and is listed as doubtful for Game 6 by USA Today. But Hill is averaging more than two turnovers per game and his replacement, D.J. Augustin, only had two in 39 minutes.
The issue is more of a team-wide problem. The Pacers must place a much greater emphasis on protecting the ball. Not only in order to close out the Knicks, but also to have any chance of surviving a potential matchup with Miami's terrific defense.
Roy Hibbert's continued emergence on the interior along with the revitalized play of David West gives the Pacers a major post advantage. They must set the tone in Game 6 by getting a lot of easy buckets around the rim.
It will force New York's defense to collapse, leaving more open looks for Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Their low shooting percentages in Game 5 were due in part to a lot of contested looks. A more established post game would open things up.
For the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony needs to become more efficient. While he's averaging 26 points per game in the series, he's needed 24 shots per game to do it. That type of volume scoring isn't enough for a team to have sustained playoff success.
Anthony has always been a shoot-first player. It's gone to another level in the playoffs, though, mostly because he's getting so little help from his teammates. J.R. Smith has been ice cold and none of the other Knicks have stepped up to fill the scoring void.
It's tough to imagine them overcoming those offensive struggles to beat the Pacers two more times. Indiana has too much talent and should be able to use the boost of returning home to eliminate the Knicks, setting up a meeting with the Heat.
Pacers 93, Knicks 90