INDIANAPOLIS – If the first two games were any indication, Tuesday’s game would figure to be a bit closer.
The Pacers won Game One in New York in convincing fashion but the Knicks came right back with a blowout two nights later to even the series. When the series shifted back to Indianapolis, the Pacers were the first to have their big performance and some may have expected to see their opponent respond in kind.
But Frank Vogel’s physical team wasn’t about to let up with a 2-1 series lead and instead made a weary Knicks team look destined for elimination.
A strong first half got the Pacers out to a lead they would never relinquish in a 93-82 Game Four victory Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana now has a commanding 3-1 series lead and will have a closeout game on Thursday night at 8 P.M. at Madison Square Garden in New York.
George Hill led the Pacers with a game-high 26 points while Paul George added 18 points and a team-high 14 rebounds.
The Pacers wasted no time jumping on the Knicks who are struggling with inconsistent play and a number of players dealing with the flu. In the first quarter the Pacers raced out to an 11-3 lead capped by a three-pointer by George and would carry a seven-point advantage into the second quarter.
Indiana would get even stronger throughout the second quarter and asserted command just before halftime. Hill scored five of the Pacers’ last seven points in the first half in the final 1:36 to push the team’s lead to 14 at the half.
As they have at time in this series the Pacers had a bit of a lull in the third quarter as they scored just 19 points and the Knicks were able to cut the lead to eleven. But the Pacers never let the Knicks get too close and extended the lead to 17 points on a Tyler Hansbrough bucket-putting themselves a game away from their first Eastern Conference Finals in nine years.