Coming into game five, only the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers had yet to win a game on the road in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

The streak continued Tuesday night.

In front of an electric Madison Square Garden crowd, the Knicks took a late first-quarter lead and never relinquished it. Jalen Brunson carried the offensive load, dropping 44 points on 51% shooting. Isaiah Hartenstien crashed the glass for 17 rebounds and Alec Burks knocked down 18 points off the bench as New York’s role players filled in the gaps around Brunson’s fifth 40-point performance of the playoffs to secure a 3-2 series lead.

Indiana seemed like a team ready to fight, taking an early seven-point lead midway through the first quarter. However, the Knicks just needed time to wake up and finished the frame with a 29-16 run over the final six minutes of the quarter. The Knicks racked up seven offensive rebounds compared to the Pacer’s three defensive rebounds and used those second-chance points to take a 38-32 lead into the second. Tom Thibodeau’s team recorded 20 offensive rebounds and 26 second-chance points on the night as they obliterated the Pacers on the glass.

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Brunson did not begin to take the game over until the second quarter. After a solid 10-point first, he exploded for 18 in the following 12 minutes. His mid-range game and hesitations frustrated the Indiana defense, and when they doubled him, Brunson always seemed to make the right pass, finishing the game with seven assists. His ability to knife inside the paint collapsed the Pacer’s defense as the Knicks ended the first half with 69 points and a 15-point halftime lead.

Like the beginning of the first half, Indiana played with great energy to begin the second. Myles Turner hit a 25-foot three that cut the lead to seven after just two minutes played in the quarter. The Knicks called a timeout, and it looked like there would be a competitive game after all.

Then Pacer’s wheels fell off.

New York went on a 19-1 run over six minutes in the third, creating whatever offense they wanted and locking down Indiana on the defensive end. Ten of the 19 points came in the paint as the Knicks continued to bully the Pacers down low all night. The deafening home crowd made it seem that the Pacers were playing against seven players instead of five as the young team wilted from the pressure.

Indiana started the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run, but it was too little, too late, as the Knicks cruised to a 30-point blowout victory, 121-91. After a blowout loss two nights before, New York competed like a different team for over 48 minutes, even without OG Anunoby, their most crucial trade deadline acquisition. No matter the other four players around him, as long as Brunson continues his scorching pace, the Knicks can win any basketball game.

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