Old-School Rivalry: Knicks-Pacers meet in East semifinals

Old-School Rivalry: Knicks-Pacers meet in East semifinals

Published on May 3, 2024, at 9:59 a.m. Eastern.
Updated on May 6 at 9:48 a.m. Eastern.

After both teams won their respective Game 6’s in the first round of the playoffs last night, Indiana and New York advanced and are set to collide in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The series opener is scheduled for Monday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

As of Friday morning, DraftKings had the Knicks installed as 6.5-point home favorites with a total of 215.5. The Pacers were +200 on the money line for Game 1.

By Monday, the most spots had the Knicks at -5.5 or -6 with the total moved up to 217 points. The Pacers were +190 to win outright.

FanDuel has New York (54-34 straight up, 46-39-3 against the spread) installed as a -300 favorite to advance to the East finals, while Indiana (51-37 SU, 47-38-3 ATS) is a +235 underdog to win the series. For bettors looking to avoid that expensive price on the Knicks, they can be had at -1.5 games laying -144 juice. Gamblers can back the Pacers at +1.5 for a +116 return.

For those bullish enough on the Knicks to win in a sweep or in five games, they have +152 odds at -2.5 games and are +570 at -3.5 games.

As for the series price on the total number of games, it’s at 5.5 shaded to the ‘over’ at a -150 price. Bettors looking to back ‘under’ 5.5 game are getting a -105 number.

FanDuel is also offering odds on the exact number of games for the series. There are +450 odds for four games, +200 odds for five games, +220 to end in Game 6 and +250 to end in Game 7.

Tom Thibodeau’s club went into Wells Fargo Center last night and emerged with a 118-115 win over Philadelphia as a three-point road underdog. The 233 combined elevated ‘over’ the 203-point tally.

Josh Hart hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 24.4 seconds remaining to give his team a 114-111 advantage. Joel Embiid countered with a bucket to cut the deficit to one, but Donte DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson both hit a pair of clutch free throws to put the game on ice.

Philadelphia’s Buddy Hield missed a 26-foot trey with a couple of seconds remaining. And with that, the Knicks sent the 76ers into vacation and prevailed in a thrilling series that delivered incredible drama, especially in Games 2, 5 and 6.

Brunson has scored 39, 47, 40 and 41 points in New York’s last four games. He finished with 41 points, three rebounds and 12 assists compared to merely two turnovers last night.

Brunson logged 43.8 minutes per game against Philadelphia, averaging 35.5 points, 9.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. The Villanova product felt right at home at Wells Fargo Center, scoring 39, 47 and 41 points in the three road assignments.

DiVincenzo, another Villanova Wildcat, drained 5-of-9 treys and finished with 23 points, four rebounds, three blocked shots, two steals and seven assists compared to only one turnover in Game 6. OG Anunoby added 19 points, nine boards, two steals and two blocked shots, while Hart produced 16 points, 14 boards and seven assists. Isaiah Hartenstein contributed 14 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two assists.

Indiana polished off a short-handed Milwaukee squad by capturing a 120-98 win as a six-point home ‘chalk’ in Thursday’s Game 6. The 218 combined points slipped ‘over’ the 217-point total on a bucket from Milwaukee’s Andre Jackson Jr. with 1:00 left.

The Pacers were led by a pair of reserves, Obi Toppin and T.J. McConnell, in last night’s close-out game. Toppin, a former Knick, exploded for 21 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one block in 24 minutes of action. McConnell, the consummate veteran backup point guard, erupted for 20 points, four steals, two boards and nine assists compared to just one turnover in 23 minutes of playing time.

McConnell buried 7-of-9 field-goal attempts, both of his launches from downtown and all four of his free throws. Pascal Siakam added 19 points, seven rebounds, one steal and four assists compared to only one turnover. Tyrese Haliburton had a double-double with 17 points, 10 assists and six boards.

These teams met three times during the regular season, with Indiana going 2-1 both SU and ATS. In the first game at Indiana on Dec. 30, the Pacers won 140-126 as four-point home favorites. The 266 combined points catapulted ‘over’ the 248-point tally.

Myles Turner led the winners with 28 points and eight rebounds, while Haliburton finished with 22 points, five rebounds, two steals, one block and 23 assists compared to merely two turnovers. Aaron Nesmith added 25 points on 7-of-11 makes from 3-point range, and Benedict Mathurin scored 20 points.

Mathurin, who averaged 14.5 PPG in 59 regular-season contests, won’t play in the series after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in early March.

In the losing effort, DiVincenzo had 38 points, six rebounds, four steals and a pair of assists. Brunson added 28 points and six assists.

Julius Randle, who is also out for the series and had season-ending shoulder surgery like Mathurin, had 28 points and 12 rebounds.

In the rematch at MSG on Feb. 1, New York won a 109-105 decision as a two-point home ‘chalk.’ The 214 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 235.5-point total.

Brunson was the catalyst with 40 points and five rebounds. DiVincenzo added 20 points, while Miles McBride was also in double figures with 16.

Jalen Smith, who appeared in only two games and played a total of 16 minutes in the Milwaukee series, scored a team-best 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the losing effort at MSG.

In the third encounter between these squads, Indiana captured a 125-111 victory as a three-point home favorite. The 236 combined points slithered ‘under’ the 237.5-point tally.

Turner led the Pacers with 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists and one steal, while Haliburton added 22 points and 12 assists compared to only one turnover. Brunson scored a game-high 39 points in defeat.