Pacers ride record-breaking shooting day to Game 7 win over Knicks

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[May 20, 2024]  The Indiana Pacers couldn't miss on Sunday.

And the New York Knicks finally couldn't overcome the injuries that wracked their roster throughout the playoffs.

Tyrese Haliburton scored 26 points for the visiting Pacers, who rode a historic shooting performance to a 130-109 win over the Knicks in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Indiana shot 67.1 percent (53-for-79) from the field -- the highest shooting percentage ever in an NBA playoff game. It broke the previous record held by the 1989-90 Boston Celtics, who shot 67 percent (63-for-94) in a 157-128 win over the Knicks in a first-round game.

"We played a great game tonight," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "I just told our team: When you win a Game 7 in Madison Square Garden, you've made history. It's very, very difficult to do."

Haliburton was 10-for-17 from the field after hoisting just 34 total shots in Games 1, 2 and 5, all of which were played in New York.

"I knew today was Game 7," Haliburton said. "I would hate to be (angry) all summer about not shooting the ball today. For me, it was just about coming out, playing the right way."

The sixth-seeded Pacers, who overcame series deficits of 2-0 and 3-2, will face the top-seeded Celtics in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals, scheduled to begin Tuesday night in Boston.

"I don't think anybody here picked the Pacers to win the series," Haliburton said.

"They didn't," added Myles Turner, sitting next to Haliburton.

"But it happened," Haliburton said.

This is the first trip to the conference finals for Indiana since 2014.

"I think we're all excited to continue to build excitement around our city," Haliburton said. "Just understand we're not done yet. We've still got another series -- possibly two -- to go. But it starts with Boston and I think we're all excited for that challenge."

The Knicks, who played short-handed throughout the series and lost star point guard Jalen Brunson to a fractured left hand in the third quarter on Sunday, fell short in their bid to appear in the conference finals for the first time since 2000.

"It was hit after hit," New York coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The guys responded all year long. I'm disappointed in the sense that we're not going to play anymore. But I thought they were a great group to be around and they gave everything they had."

Andrew Nembhard and Pascal Siakam each scored 20 points while Aaron Nesmith had 19 points on 8-of-8 shooting for the Pacers.

Turner scored 17 points while T.J. McConnell added 12 points off the bench.

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May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) and guard Andrew Nembhard (2) celebrate with teammates during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Donte DiVincenzo scored a personal-playoff-high 39 points for the Knicks, who played the series without All-Star Julius Randle (out since January with a right shoulder injury) and Bojan Bogdanovic (left wrist and left foot injuries). Mitchell Robinson didn't play after Game 1 due to an aggravation of a left ankle injury, and OG Anunoby missed the previous four games with a left hamstring injury before scoring five points in five first-quarter minutes on Sunday.

Josh Hart played 37 minutes on Sunday despite dealing with an abdominal injury that he suffered in Game 6 on Friday night.

Alec Burks had 26 points on Sunday, while Brunson had 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting to go along with nine assists. Hart tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists before fouling out.

"Definitely proud of what we were able to do this year and proud of how we fought night-in and night-out," Brunson said. "Obviously, the outcome is not what we wanted. But the way we fought, it was awesome."

The road team entered Sunday 0-6 in the series, but the Pacers took control with a blistering first half in which they led by as many as 22 while shooting 76.3 percent (29-for-38) from the field -- the best shooting percentage in a half in an NBA playoff game in the play-by-play era, which started in 1997-98.

The Knicks scored the first seven points of the third quarter to begin a 12-3 run that pulled them within 73-67 with 8:06 left. But Indiana answered with a 22-9 run and led by at least 13 throughout the fourth quarter.

"We made a run in the third and then we fell short," Thibodeau said. "I thought guys gave everything they had and that's all you could ask. It was a battle all year and there was nothing left to give at the end."

--Field Level Media

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