The New York Knicks managed to dodge elimination in Game 5 but still need to win the remaining two games in their series against the Indiana Pacers. Game 6 sends the series back to Indiana, where the Knicks have lost both games they've played on the road.
George Hill's status for Game 6 has not been updated. After suffering a concussion in Game 4, Hill did not play on Thursday. The Pacers' already-limited offense struggled without Hill, scoring only 75 points total on 36 percent shooting. Hill has averaged 17.3 points per game against the Knicks in the playoffs.
Even with Hill out, the Knicks are fighting an uphill battle. Despite Indiana missing a player who is both their starting point guard and a key individual defender, the Knicks shot 41 percent from the field. Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points on 12-of-28 shooting. The difference in Game 5 was that it was enough to push the Knicks to a victory because Indiana couldn't keep up offensively.
Will it be enough on Sunday? Let's take a look at three keys to the game:
Will the Pacers cut down their turnovers?
The Pacers turned the ball over 19 times in Game 5. Yes, they were missing Hill, but turnovers have been a constant issue for Indiana in this series. They've averaged 17.8 turnovers through five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Pacers' focus on defense is unquestionable, but they cannot continue to give possessions away. A turnover has a zero percent chance of being a successful field goal. I've done the math.
Can Chris Copeland stretch the floor for the Knicks again?
Copeland was a difference-maker off the bench for the Knicks. He made three of his four three-point field goal attempts and forced his defender to stay on him as opposed to cheating towards Anthony to help. The Knicks need reliable three-point shooting to create space in their offense, and Copeland answered the call for New York.
The battle between Paul George and Carmelo Anthony
George and Anthony have spent the majority of the series battling each other. George has done a good job of corralling Anthony and forcing him into tough shots but has not been very efficient on the offensive side of the ball. Averaging a team-high 18.8 points per game through the series on just 35.7 percent shooting, George has to do a better job of converting his shot attempts. If Hill continues to miss time for Indiana, even more pressure is put on George to be the Pacers' primary scorer while also having to match-up with Anthony on defense.
That's a tall task for a young player who can be the difference between Indiana to closing out the Knicks, or the series heading to Madison Square Garden for Game 7.
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Odds: The Pacers opened as five-point favorites, according to OddsShark.com.