New York Knicks’ Chris Copeland (R) celebrates a basket in the second half with his teammate Carmelo Anthony during the Knicks’
Led by 28 points from league scoring champion Carmelo Anthony, the desperate Knicks played with determination on defense to narrow the deficit to 3-2 in their best-of-seven series, which resumes on Saturday.
The Knicks bench outscored the undermanned Pacers 35-10 with J.R. Smith coming out of a slump to contribute 12 points and 29-year-old rookie Chris Copeland adding 13 points and high energy on defense.
Playing without starting point guard George Hill, who suffered a concussion in Indiana’s Game Four victory, the Pacers were led by Paul George’s 23 points.
Should the Pacers fail to finish the series with a victory at home on Saturday, the series would return to New York’s Madison Square Garden for a deciding Game Seven on Monday.
New York started fast in a physical first half, scoring the first seven points of the game. They led by four after the first quarter and by 40-34 at halftime.
The Knicks extended their lead to 10 after three quarters, carrying a 67-57 advantage to the fourth quarter.
Indiana were hurt by poor shooting from the foul line, making just 19-of-33 attempts.
The San Antonio Spurs advanced to the Western Conference finals after closing out the Golden State Warriors 94-82 in Game Six of their semi-final series on Thursday.
Led by Tim Duncan’s 19 points, the second-seeded Spurs claimed victory on the road in Oakland to seal a 4-2 triumph in the best-of-seven series and set up a showdown against the fifth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
All five Spurs starters contributed to the victory by registering double figure scores to help overcome unusually subdued performances from Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli.
Parker was a dismal 3-for-16 from the floor but stepped up late in the game, scoring 10 of his 13 points in the final three and a half minutes to help the Spurs over the line, while Ginobli at least contributed 11 assists to his five-point haul.
Stephen Curry top-scored with 22 points for the Warriors but it was not enough to continue the fairytale run of a youthful Golden State side, who will expect to return bigger and stronger next season.
Golden State’s bench added 36 points to the cause, led by Jarrett Jack’s 15.
“We’re disappointed for it to end the way it did in our home court,” Curry told reporters. “We are excited about the foundation we built as a team going forward and we look forward to next year.