The Knicks got blown out in Game 6 and suffered an insult-to-injury blow as Josh Hart left early with an abdominal injury.

The New York Knicks (3-3) were unable to clinch their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals tonight after an intense beatdown by the Indiana Pacers, making the Pacers undefeated on their home court all series long.

The first quarter opened up with a triple from Tyrese Haliburton as well as an aggressive layup by Andrew Nembhard. This was followed by two back-to-back buckets by Jalen Brunson. Although both teams were playing at a fast pace which was forced by the Pacers, they couldn’t make any of their possessions count for what seemed like forever. While the Knicks were missing wide-open shots, the Pacers were getting active in the paint.

Nembhard was also making a case for himself with six points in the first. After a dominant slam by Myles Turner against Isaiah Hartenstein, Miles McBride silenced the crowd in Indiana with two consecutive treys from downtown as well as a fastbreak bucket. He notched 11 points in the first. This was much needed considering that the Pacers were double-teaming JB pretty well. 

Once Josh Hart checked back in after what seemed like a scare for him, he hustled for back-to-back rebounds while Donte DiVincenzo cashed in points for the Knicks. But DiVincenzo didn’t stop there, he went ahead and made an impressive spin-around move and knocked the ball off the backboard while being heavily contested. DiVincenzo piled up 10 points in the first. It was also plainly obvious that Hart’s glass protection was paying off. And although Pascal Siakam planted seven points in the first, he wracked up two fouls, a huge advantage for the Knicks. 

The first quarter ended with the Knicks ahead of the Pacers by one point (30-29). 

The second quarter unfastened with one made free-throw from Knicks’ Alec Burks. Aaron Nesmith then answered back with a jumper of his own. But lucky for the Knicks, Burks was fouled again, this time knocking both free throws in. T.J. McConnell was also proving himself to be a game-changer for the Pacers through his smart passes to his teammates. This was especially seen on a tough coast-to-coast play, dunked by former Knicks’ Obi Toppin. 

With Deuce stripping the ball off Turner, he was electric, laying one in on the fastbreak. Unshy, he kept the fuel going by adding in a difficult jumper on the next play. After a much-needed three for the Pacers from Haliburton, DiVincenzo responded by muscling his way into the paint with another spin-around move for the bucket. It was evident that both teams were showing out with their shot-making abilities, unable to quit from lighting it up on the floor. Hart, who remained as a hard worker, was seen on a stunning possession by rolling one in while double-teamed. 

Unfortunately for Brunson, the Pacers were doing such a great job on the defensive end that he wasn’t able to knock any of his shots down here. Now up by almost double-digits, the Pacers were doing such a good job on keeping the Knicks away from the rim as well as on the attacking front going on a 13-2 run for over three minutes. The Knicks’ frustrations only grew more after Turner’s monstrous dunk (nine points), while JB remained ice-cold. Siakam also helped dominate this quarter with eight points.

It’s safe to say that this was not the Knicks’ quarter, the Pacers closed out the first half with a towering score of 61-51. 

The third quarter started with one made technical free-throw from JB as well as an urgent drive into the key by him. After a miss by Pacers’ Siakam, Deuce made a sneaky, quick cut into the key for what seemed like an effortless layup. Nembhard then finally connected the Pacers’ first bucket of the second half with a three, which was coupled by a big-time play by Haliburton also from beyond the arc. The Knicks, who once cut their lead to just four points, were again trailing by double-digit points by the Pacers. 

JB, now looking much better, was seen pulling up with beautiful mid-range jumpers, hitting threes, and forcing the drive into the paint for the bucket. He put up 14 points on the board in the third. Helpless, it seemed like Turner had an avalanche of dunks ready for the Knicks in his pockets. Pacers’ Siakam continued to be a big-time player for them as well, unafraid to fight for the ball (six points). While the Pacers were flourishing, Knicks’ Hart was seen on the bench once again for what seemed like an aching pain near his ribs. A clear, unfortunate loss for the Knicks considering that the Pacers were scoring with ease; Haliburton and TJ both leading the way in the third with seven points each.

However, in a twist of events, although it was apparent that Hart was still in pain; he was resilient, making his return on the court with just over three minutes remaining before the final quarter. TJ’s emphatic drive into the paint as well as his and one only made it all the more difficult for the Knicks to climb back on top. The third quarter ended with the Pacers still on top of the Knicks, 88-75.

The final quarter unhooked with an unsurprising drive by the one and only T.J. McConnell as well as a two-point bucket by Isaiah Jackson’s advantageous height and size from under the rim. The Knicks then responded with a clever pass from JB into Precious Achiuwa’s hands for some much-needed points. Regardless this unfortunately amounted to nothing since the Pacers were clearly demolishing the Knicks. Hart also started making his way into the locker room for what was labeled as abdominal soreness, giving Coach Thibodeau the green light to also pull JB out of the game. It was quite clear that the Pacers put this game away already with eight minutes remaining in regulation. The final score resulted in a lofty victory for the Pacers, 116-103.

Next up, the New York Knicks will be facing the Indiana Pacers for a nail-biting Game 7 at home in MSG on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. E.T. Hopefully Hart will be recovered by then.

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