Notebook: Pacers 106, Knicks 99

Posted May 19, 2013 12:56 AM

Conrad Brunner for

THE FACTS: The least experienced Indiana starter came up the biggest when it mattered most as Lance Stephenson scored a career-high 25 points and added 10 rebounds to spark the Pacers to a series-clinching 106-99 victory over New York Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and into the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004. Paul George scored 23 and Roy Hibbert 21 with 12 rebounds and five blocks for the Pacers, who earned a rematch of last year's conference semifinal loss to Miami. New York got 39 points from Carmelo Anthony but saw its season come to an end in Game 6.

QUOTABLE: "It's believable but it's unbelievable. He's got no playoff experience whatsoever but he has some of the best basketball instincts I've ever been around ... the kid's got a lot of guts."
-- Indiana coach Frank Vogel on Stephenson

THE STAT: All five Indiana starters led the team in scoring at least once during the series. The Knicks were led in scoring by Anthony in all six games.

TURNING POINT: The Pacers appeared to be in control in the third quarter, leading by as many as 12 points, but Iman Shumpert caught fire, hitting three straight 3-pointers in a span of 64 seconds to spark a 12-2 run that tied the game at 72-all. Chris Copeland and J.R. Smith than added to a streak of seven consecutive 3-pointers made as the Knicks took a 92-90 lead with 5:42 remaining. Indiana's defense dug in as Anthony missed two shots and committed three turnovers while Stephenson scored seven straight points in a 9-0 run to put Indiana in front 99-92. A three-point play by Smith and a dunk by Anthony cut it to 103-99 with 49 seconds left but the Pacers closed it out at the line.

QUOTABLE II: "I couldn't wait for this game. I couldn't sleep last night. I was very focused tonight and it showed. I wanted to be aggressive, take it to the basket and make smart plays."
-- Lance Stephenson

HOT: Stephenson shot 9-for-13 and George 9-for-15 for Indiana as all five starters scored in double figures, combining for 98 points. Anthony was 15-for-29 for the Knicks and Shumpert was 5-for-6 from the 3-point line. Copeland was 3-for-6 from the arc.

NOT: Smith closed out a miserable series with 4-for-15 shooting. For the six games he shot 26-for-90 (.289), including 9-for-39 (.231) from the 3-point line. ... Tyson Chandler fouled out with two points, six rebounds and zero blocked shots. ... Raymond Felton missed all seven of his shots.

QUOTABLE III: "It's tough to go out this way. We did it in spurts but they were still the aggressors tonight. We had our chances, came back to take the lead, but didn't get it done down the home stretch."
-- Knicks coach Mike Woodson

NOTABLE: Indiana got a big pregame boost when starting point guard George Hill was cleared to play. He missed the Game 5 loss in New York with a concussion but completed all the steps in the NBA-mandated concussion protocol in the two days prior to Game 6. Hill scored 12 points with five rebounds and four assists. ... Anthony made his first two fourth-quarter buckets of the series in Indianapolis, but finished 2-for-14 with six points in the final period on the road. ... The Pacers outrebounded the Knicks 43-36 for the game and 194-143 in their four wins. ... New York lost all five games in Indianapolis this season. ... The Pacers outscored the Knicks 34-18 from the free throw line and committed just nine turnovers. ... Knicks guard Jason Kidd finished his season by going 10 straight games without scoring, going 0-for-17 overall, 0-for-10 from the 3-point line. ... New York had a 31-8 edge in bench scoring for the game, 187-89 for the series.

UP NEXT: Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday in Miami, Game 2 Friday in Miami, Game 3 Friday in Indianapolis, Game 4 Sunday in Indianapolis.