Pacers ride historic shooting performance to Game 7 blowout of Knicks

    The Indiana Pacers arrived at Madison Square Garden for Game 7 of their conference semifinal series against the New York Knicks prepared to dominate, and they did just that. 

    The Knicks may not have played a bad game, but they needed to be near perfect to top the sharp-shooting Pacers on Sunday. After hitting 76.3% (29-of-38) of their shots in the first half, Indiana continued the onslaught after halftime to win going away, 130-109. 

    They ended the afternoon shooting 67.1% for the game to top the 1990 Boston Celtics (67%) for the highest shooting percentage ever in a playoff game. 

    Tyrese Haliburton set the pace early, scoring 16 first-half points to help Indiana jump out to a 15-point lead at halftime. In the second, he was still the go-to guy for the Pacers, posting 10 points to finish with 26 (10-of-17) for the game, including six three-pointers (6-of-12), six assists and four rebounds. 

    Haliburton may have taken charge, but Sunday’s victory was a team effort on both sides of the floor.

    Not only did the Pacers finish the game with a remarkable 33 assists (19 in the first half), but they set the posted 53 field goals, tied for the second-most in a Game 7, per NBA Communications

    Fellow starters Pascal Siakam (20), Andrew Nembhard (20), Aaron Nesmith (19) and Myles Turner (17) all finished in double-figures. Likewise, they were just as efficient as the team’s star, shooting 31-of-44 from the field and 7-of-10 from three-point range. 

    Meanwhile, the Pacers also received a massive lift from T.J. McConnell, who scored 12 points off the bench (6-of-8) with seven assists in 23 minutes. 

    Conversely, the Knicks simply couldn’t keep up. They went on several second-half runs, cutting the deficit to as few as six points, but the Pacers’ lights-out shooting and injuries to top stars were too much to overcome. 

    Already short-handed, the Knicks received a blow early as OG Anunoby’s return didn’t go as planned. The forward played only five minutes before his nagging hamstring injury forced him to sit for the remainder of the game. Also, star Jalen Brunson suffered a fractured hand and left the contest late. 

    Donte DiVincenzo (11-of-21, 39 points) and Alec Burks (8-of-13, 26 points) picked the Knicks up, helping them hang around despite being down double-digits for most of the game. 

    But, they needed more from Brunson (6-of-17, 17 points), Josh Hart (3-of-9, 10 points) and Miles McBride (4-of-14, 8 points), who all struggled in Game 7. 

    The Pacers, once down 2-0 and 3-2 in the series with the Knicks, are off to the Eastern Conference Finals. There, they’ll face off against the top-seeded Boston Celtics, who knocked out the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games to advance. 

    Game 1 of the ECF is on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Boston. 

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