NEW YORK – Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points and the Knicks avoided elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 85-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 last night in the Garden.
Reserves J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland each had 13 points for the Knicks, who trail 3-2 and will need a victory tomorrow in Indiana to force a seventh game back in the Garden on Monday. They are trying to become the ninth NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series.
“I was totally impressed because we met the challenge,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “I think as a coach you come into games like this and you want to see who’s going to step up and make plays, and I thought we did that tonight. We were the better team in terms of doing that.”
Anthony, who didn’t make a basket in the fourth quarter of either game in Indiana, made a jumper midway through the fourth quarter after Indiana closed within four points. He followed with two free throws, Raymond Felton made a layup, and the Knicks were never in jeopardy again.
Paul George had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers. They played without point guard George Hill because of a concussion and committed 19 turnovers.
“We’ve just got to play more solid. There’s no other way to put it,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
George battled foul trouble and couldn’t contain Anthony quite as well as he had while the Pacers easily won the previous two games.
Anthony made his first two shots as New York raced to a 7-0 lead in a game it never trailed. He finished only 12 of 28, but got plenty of bench help.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well but we made shots at the crucial time,” Anthony said.
David West had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who were trying to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004.
Meanwhile in the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Tim Duncan had 19 points and six rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and 10 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs held off a furious final rally to beat the Golden State Warriors 94-82 in Game 6 and advance to the Western Conference finals.
“They’ve got great character. They’re competitive. They know there’s not a million chances to do this sort of thing. They wanted it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his squad.
Tony Parker shook off a poor start to score 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Tiago Splitter added a career-playoff high 14 points for San Antonio, which had a 13-point lead in the third quarter dissolve to two in the final minutes.
Stephen Curry shot 10-of-25 from the floor to score 22 points on a nagging left ankle, and Jarrett Jack had 15 points as the injury-saddled Warriors finally tired.