Pacers, Knicks Series All Even
May. 30, 2000
NEW YORK (AP) _ So much for Indiana's two-game lead in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The Pacers came to New York halfway to their first berth in the NBA Finals after beating the New York Knicks twice at home. And two games later, that's where they still are.
With a chance to put a stranglehold on the Knicks, Indiana came up well short of that goal, losing on Saturday and then again Monday. Now they head back home with the best-of-seven series reduced to a best-of-three and the Knicks with all the momentum.
If there was a positive to take out of Monday's 91-89 loss it was the Pacers' ability to come back from adversity.
Down 17 points at halftime after sleepwalking through the game's first 24 minutes, they cut New York's lead to a single point in the fourth quarter. But they never quite caught the Knicks, who scored the next five points to regain control of the game.
The Pacers never controlled the long-range shooting of Charlie Ward and Larry Johnson, who combined for nine 3-pointers on 11 attempts, many of them at crucial moments.
Indiana led just once all night, when Reggie Miller nailed a 3-pointer in the early moments of the game. After that, they saw the Knicks turn much of the first quarter into a layup drill.
New York led by 14 after the first quarter and then 17 at the half. The Pacers took a halftime tongue-lashing from coach Larry Bird and chopped the lead in half, down to 73-65 with 12 minutes to play, then made another run in the fourth with Miller and Jalen Rose leading the way. But they never got all the way back from the huge early deficit.
New York bent but never broke and now the Pacers, outshot, outrebounded and outhustled for much of their lost weekend in New York, must do some rapid repair work before Wednesday night's Game 5.