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NBA Playoffs Picks: New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers

Game 6 of this Eastern Conference semi-final series between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacerstakes place tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in IndianaThe game is scheduled for an 8:00 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on ESPNCurrently the Odds for the game have Indiana favored by 5 points while the total sits at 178.5.

Analysis: New York was able to hold off elimination with an 85-75 victory on Thursday thanks in big part to closing the rebounding differential from minus-18 in Game 4 to minus-3 in Game 5. The Knicks were also able to force the Pacers into committing 19 turnovers without their starting point guard, George Hill, who was out with a concussion. The Knicks really struggled in Indiana this series, scoring 76.5 PPG on 35% FG in losing two straight games to fall into a 3-1 series deficit. However, New York responded with a 10-point victory in Game 5, as SF Carmelo Anthony hit some big shots on his way to a game-high 28 points (12-of-28 FG) and six rebounds in 42 minutes. C Tyson Chandler played great defense on Pacers big man Roy Hibbert, finishing with eight rebounds and two blocks in 27 minutes. SG J.R. Smith finally played a decent game for the Knicks and they will need him to build off of that in Game 6. After shooting 28.1% FG in Games 1-4, Smith shot a series-best 36.4% FG (4-for-11) on Thursday with six rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes.  New York G Jason Kidd was limited to five minutes in Game 5 and went 0-for-1 from the field. He is 0-for-17 in the last nine games.

So far in these playoffs, Indiana is 5-0 (SU and ATS) at home, winning all five games by at least 11 points. The Pacers are 35-11 SU (27-19 ATS) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the season.  Indiana is 7-0 in the postseason when Hill scores 14 or more points and 0-4 when he scores fewer. The 27-year-old guard reportedly suffered the concussion in the first half of Game 4 but still went on to score 14 points in the third quarter of that game en route to a game-high 26. But symptoms began to crop up the next day, and the Pacers and the NBA won’t take any chances. “He’s gotta pass the NBA protocol concussion test,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. D.J. Augustin started in Hill’s place in Game 5 and scored 12 points but did not have an assist in 39 minutes. George absorbed more of the ball handling responsibilities, in addition to being counted on for scoring production and taking the main defensive assignment on Anthony. “We gotta approach Game 6 as a desperation game,” George said. The All-Star forward scored a team-high 23 points in Game 5 but went 10-for-36 in Games 3 and 4 in Indiana.  Indiana went 19-for-33 from the free throw line in Game 5.

Pick: This has been a very low scoring series and I expect it to happen here. I thought in game 5 that the Knicks would look to run a bit more, but they just havent been able to do that in this series and on this floor I don't expect them to do that here either. The Pacers have allowed just 89.3 ppg at home, including just 84.8 ppg at home in the playoffs. In the two playoff games here vs the Knicks they allowed just 153 total points. The Pacres offense has stalled of late, averaging just 82.5 ppg in their last 4 games but they are comfortable playing a game in the 80's. The New York defense has been strong in the playoffs, allowing just 84.1 ppg in their 11 games, while their offense is sputtering scoring no more than 90 points in any of their playoff road games. This once again should be a slow down grind it out basketball game that will be played in the 160's.  

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