Now their rebounding prowess has them on the brink of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.
George Hill netted 26 points and Paul George added 18 points and 14 rebounds in the Pacers’ 93-82 thumping of the New York Knicks in Game 4 of this Eastern Conference semifinal.
“He was spectacular, maybe the best game I ever saw him play,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said of Hill. “Offensively, he wasn’t really great executing our offense, but he really bailed us out a few times when we had bad possessions and needed someone to make a play.”
The NBA’s top rebounding team during the regular season held a 54-36 edge on the boards and have outrebounded the Knicks by a 188-142 margin so far in this series.
Indiana took a 3-1 stranglehold in the set and can wrap up the series Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
David West also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards, Roy Hibbert grabbed 11 rebounds and again clogged the paint defensively with three more blocks, while Lance Stephenson chipped in with 13 points for Indiana, which hasn’t lost at home this postseason.
The Memphis Grizzlies are the only other team to not suffer a defeat on their home floor during the playoffs.
After not making a field goal in the fourth quarter of Game 3, the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony was held scoreless in the final frame of Game 4 and fouled out with two minutes left. He concluded with 24 points on 9-of-23 shooting.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith continued to have a frustrating time offensively as well for New York. He missed eight of his first nine shots and finished just 7-of-22 from the floor for 19 points. He’s 18-of-64 overall in the set.
New York, which led the NBA in 3-point makes per game (10.9) during the year, was 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from beyond the arc.
“I can’t lose hope,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said. “We go home, we handle our business and we get back here on Friday and see if we can force Game 7.”
The Pacers jumped out to an 11-3 lead and took a 23-16 advantage after a quarter of play.
They began to pull away during the latter stages of the second. After Raymond Felton’s layup brought the Knicks within 35-30 with 4:08 left, Indiana closed the half on a 13-4 run.
Hill hit a triple, George nailed a pull-up jumper and Hill’s steal and layup in transition created a 16-point spread. Anthony nailed a long jumper in the waning seconds, but the Pacers took a 48-34 advantage into the break.
The hometown product from IUPUI, Hill, had 14 of his points in the third and knocked down a trey to give Indiana a 66-50 cushion with 2:12 remaining in the stanza, but New York finished the frame on a 6-1 spurt to whittle the deficit to 67-56 entering the fourth.
Smith’s layup cut the gap to 69-61 early in the fourth, but the Pacers countered with a 7-0 spurt and were never seriously threatened again.
Stephenson nailed a three and drove in for a layup before Hibbert’s tip-in increased the margin to 76-61 with 8:08 to play.
Attempting to make a late comeback, New York trailed by 11 and had possession, but Anthony and Smith both missed triples before Anthony was whistled for a loose ball foul, his sixth.
The Knicks never cut the deficit below nine the rest of the way.
NOTES: New York is now 0-5 this year — including the postseason — at Bankers Life Fieldhouse … The Pacers held a 36-26 points in the paint advantage and 10-3 fastbreak points edge … Felton had 14 points and six assists … D.J. Augustin tallied 11 points off the bench for Indiana.