Editor's note: Brian Edwards is #2 on VI in NBA winning percentage (58%) and #1 in guaranteed money (+28.5 units!). His pay-if-it-wins-only selections are on an incredible 19-5 run. Don't miss out on his pick pack for tonight!
With its back against the wall going back home to Madison Square Garden for Thursday’s Game 5, New York (60-33 straight up, 51-40-2 against the spread) caught a break a few hours before it took the court against Indiana.
George Hill, who had led the Pacers to a 3-1 series advantage by scoring a game-high 26 points in an 82-71 Game 4 win, was declared ‘out’ due to a concussion suffered on Tuesday.
Suddenly the storyline of J.R. Smith’s horrendous shooting slump and late-night partying with Rihanna was put on the backburner. With Hill out of the lineup, the Knicks had a much better chance at staving off elimination.
And that’s exactly what they did, capturing an 85-75 win as five-point home favorites. New York took the cash, while the 160 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 181.5-point total.
Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 28 points to force a Game 6 back in Indianapolis with his team trailing 3-2 in the series. Chris Copeland finally got some playing time and responded by draining 3-of-4 attempts from 3-point land en route to scoring 13 points in 19 minutes of action.
Smith didn’t exactly explode from out of his shooting woes, making only 4-of-11 from the field, but he played decent with 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists. Raymond Felton was also in double figures with 12 points and dished out four assists without committing a turnover.
In the losing effort, Paul George finished with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists. David West scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and made three steals.
D.J. Augustine saw increased minutes (38) with Hill ‘out.’ The Texas product knocked down three treys but failed to record an assist. As a team, Indiana had an atrocious 12/19 assists-to-turnovers ratio.
For Game 6 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana (56-36 SU, 49-43 ATS) has been installed as a five-point home ‘chalk.’ As of early this morning, there were a few books at 4.5. The total was 178 and the Knicks were +175 on the money line (risk $100 to win $175).
The Pacers are a perfect 5-0 both SU and ATS in its five home playoff games, winning by at least 11 points in each contest. But Hill played in those five home wins and he remained ‘questionable’ as of early this morning.
Mike Woodson’s club is 2-3 both SU and ATS in five postseason road assignments.
The ‘under’ is 6-2-1 in nine head-to-head meetings between these squads this year, 3-0-1 in the last four encounters. The lowest previous total was 179.5 in Game 4 at Indiana.
The ‘under’ is 49-41-3 overall for the Knicks, 24-20-2 in their road games. The ‘under’ is 47-43-2 overall for the Pacers, 23-22-1 overall in their home outings.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--J.R. Smith hasn’t been the same player since his suspension during the Boston series. Since then, Smith has made only 27-of-102 shots for an abysmal 26.5 percent in the last
--Amar’e Stoudemire hasn’t been much of a factor in his three games since returning from injury. He logged just 6:34 of playing time in Game 5, finishing with two points and two rebounds. In nearly 27 minutes of PT in three games, Stoudemire has 13 points and nine boards.
--The updated series price is Pacers -330, Knicks +270.
--San Antonio has been installed as a four-point home favorite for Sunday’s Game 1 vs. Memphis. The total is 183.5 and the Grizzlies are +160 on the money line.
--The series price at most spots is San Antonio -140, Memphis +110.
--Sportsbook.ag’s updated futures: Heat -350, Grizzlies 7/1, Spurs 7/1, Pacers 15/1 and Knicks 50/1.