Game 6 was an emotional roller coaster for both the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. Each team went on runs that looked to put the other away, but in the end, the Pacers ran away with the game and the series, 106-99.
The Pacers looked to have things in hand through the first half, but an outrageous three-point bonanza got the Knicks right back into the thick of things.
It was only some lockdown fourth-quarter defense, holding New York to just 18 in the final frame, that pushed the Pacers to the next level.
Carmelo Anthony put up 39 on 15-of-29 shooting, but that won't be what New York fans remember. Anthony scored just four points in the deciding quarter as the Pacers pulled away.
The Pacers' bruising style is what won out in the end, with Roy Hibbert and Paul George making clutch defensive plays and pounding the paint on offense.
Hibbert went for 21 points and 12 rebounds, contributing majorly to the Pacers' 52 points in the paint.
George finished with 23 points, going 9-of-15 from the field. He was also partially responsible for J.R. Smith's 4-of-15 performance.
Neither player was the biggest story of the night, however. It was New York-born Lance Stephenson who had the clutch play to grant the Pacers a conference-finals berth.
Stephenson missed only four shots en route to a team-high 25 points and 10 rebounds. He was relentless through the final buzzer, scoring nine points in the final five minutes.
The Pacers rode some of the best basketball Stephenson has played in his pro career to a 55-47 lead at halftime, as the young shooting guard put up 16 points and seven rebounds before intermission. That included a tough three-point play with seconds remaining.
The Knicks went on a three-point-shooting barrage late in the third quarter. Iman Shumpert netted three straight from beyond the arc, and J.R. Smith's trey with 3:10 remaining knotted things up at 72.
Another Shumpert trey tied things up at 79 with 48 seconds left. That bucket gave Shumpert 16 points in the quarter, and 19 overall, the most he had scored since March 13. From there, Anthony and George traded hoops to knot things up at 81-81 entering the fourth quarter.
The three-point bombardment continued with Chris Copeland in the fourth quarter. His second trey of the quarter put the Knicks up, 87-84, with 10:10 to go.
The two teams continued playing their own games through the fourth. The Pacers worked things inside for layups at one end, while Smith netted yet another three for New York. Hibbert came up with a monster block on an Anthony dunk and then had a layup at the other end. Stephenson's and-one with 3:55 remaining pushed the Pacers ahead, 95-92.
Stephenson again attacked the rim, and this time drew Tyson Chandler's sixth foul. Chandler had been struggling all game as it was, managing an unproductive minus-16. He took his two points and six rebounds to the bench for the remainder of the game. Stephenson made both freebies, putting Indiana up, 97-92
Stephenson just kept it coming, while Anthony committed three straight turnovers. Smith got a pair of free throws to bring New York within four, at 101-97 with just 1:15 remaining.
Anthony got to the rim for a dunk, possibly the only easy shot he had all night. The bucket kept the Knicks within four, 103-99, with just 49 seconds to go. It was only Anthony's second basket of the fourth.
Copeland missed a three with about 30 seconds remaining in the game. However, the Knicks waited until there were just nine ticks left to foul.
George went to the line with the opportunity to really ice the game over. Unfortunately, he bricked both freebies, but, like they had done all night, the Pacers got another rebound. Sam Young came up with the grab and hit one of two free throws, finishing off the Knicks for good.
The Pacers advance to face the waiting Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.