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Indiana Pacers vs. N.Y. Knicks Game 5 NBA Preview & Free Pick

Indiana vs NY Handicapping

Mike Woodson has tried just about everything.  Changes in the starting lineup.  Going small.  Going big.  Going more physical.  Doubling Roy Hibbert, of all people.

Eastern Conference
Indiana Pacers (3-1) at New York Knicks (1-3)
Thursday, May 16
Madison Square Garden, New York
8 p.m. EST
Spread – Knicks -4.5 at Bovada
O/U – 179

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Nothing has worked, and you wonder if even Woodson realizes at this point that the chances of winning three straight over the Pacers and getting to the Eastern Conference finals are about the same as buying a real $100 Rolex from a street vendor outside Madison Square Garden.

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The Knicks have the look and feel of a team that is out of options. Every player who took some pressure of Carmelo Anthony by making shots against soft defenses in the regular season is turtling.

J.R. Smith can’t even make a layup at this point, let alone fire in threes with hands in his face. Amare Stoudemire clearly doesn’t yet have his legs under him after returning from injury.

The Knicks would love to get some offense out of PG Ray Felton, but he’s been missing in action for two games and over the entire series the Knicks have been outscored by 32 points during the time he has been on the court. Felton was even a minus-2 in New York’s only victory, in Game 2.

That leaves Carmelo Anthony, who may or may not be 100 percent (with him you never know) to stem the tide Thursday night in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden.

Anthony loves to score and needs the ball to be effective, and unless a few of his teammates step up tonight, he’ll need a 35- or 40-point game to get things done. Can you blame him for being a ball hog the way the rest of the team has turtled? [ad-6571516]

All of which leaves the Pacers in better than pretty good shape as they head for New York with their pockets full of house money.

They shot barely 40 percent from the field in Game 4, missing 24 three-pointers and playing an all-around crummy game at home, and still came out on top.

Now they have three chances to put this away, including one more at home if needed and against a Knicks team that looks like a gunslinger who has used up all the bullets in his chamber but keeps pulling the trigger.

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This one could be decided in the first 8 minutes.

The Knicks are a front-running team that draws energy from itself. A good start opens things up for an offense which has underperformed in 12 of the 16 quarters played so far, and a slow start might result in some panic at the thought of seeing it all crumble at home.

NY appears to have played its best basketball in the Boston series and now is out of answers.

Indiana to cover the 4.5, with aggressive bettors biting at the money line for a better payoff.

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