NBA players make the games seem simple: it is a make-or-miss league.

The Indiana Pacers lived this to a T on Sunday afternoon.

Neither team had won a game on the road until game seven, and the contests were downright uncompetitive depending on the half-court logo. The Pacers made this one a blowout early on but did it away from home.

They came out blazing and blunted a rocking Knicks crowd early in the game. Indiana shot 76.3% from the field in the first half and somehow kept up the entire game by shooting 67.1% over 48 minutes. While the Pacers soared to a new level, the Knicks fell apart. OG Anunoby tried to gut out a hamstring injury but clearly did not have it and only played five minutes. Jalen Brunson faced a similar fate. After carrying the Knicks the entire playoffs, his body finally gave in, and doctors ruled him out with a fractured left hand at the end of the third quarter.

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Before the injuries did the Knicks in, Indiana pushed them to the brink. The Pacers went 7-9 from three in the first quarter and finished the frame with 39 points. They pushed the ball in transition and turned strong rebounding on the defensive end into open shots on the offense as the Pacers hit the pressure points on Knick defenders who could barely get in position. Rick Carlisle’s team raced out to a 12-3 run and led the Knicks 52-30 at the 8:30 mark of the second. New York cut the deficit to 15 at the end of the first half as Brunson scored five minutes in the final two minutes.

The Knicks took their late rally into the beginning portions of the second half, trailing by six after Josh Hart scored from a Donte DiVincenzo assist. DiVincenzo did his best to spark the Knick offense, going 3-5 from three in the third, and finished with nine made triples on the afternoon, an NBA game-seven record. However, the Wildcat’s historical effort did not keep New York afloat.

Indiana went on an 11-0 run at the end of the quarter and led 101-84 at the end of three. The teams traded baskets at the beginning of the fourth, but the Knicks never came within 13 for the rest of the game. Andrew Nembhard and Aaron Nesmith combined for ten straight points with three minutes left in the game as they put the bow on a dominating game seven victory. Indiana finished off the Knicks 130-109 and moved on to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will meet the Boston Celtics.

The Pacers should be commended for the way they shot in this game. After getting blown out in Madison Square Garden in game five, Indiana responded and proved they were ready for the bright lights of NYC. Whether they can hold their own against Boston remains to be seen, but to come from 3-2 down is a feat on its own.

For the Knicks, a playoff run that started so strong ended without another conference championship appearance. Their off-season plans begin and end with getting Brunson a second star to take some of the scoring load off him. Sports in New York are playing at a high level for the first time in two decades, and the Knicks must strike while the iron stays hot.

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