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N.Y. Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Game 6 NBA Preview & Free Pick

Knicks vs Pacers Handicapping

Will this series be the first NBA post-season battle to be decided not on the court but by the league’s new concussion policy?

Eastern Conference
New York Knicks (2-3) at Indiana Pacers (3-2)
Saturday, May 18
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
8 p.m. EST
Spread – Pacers -5 at Sportsbook.ag

O/U – 178.5

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No one knows whether star guard George Hill, who suffered a concussion in Game 4 in Indianapolis and was sidelined in the Pacers’ Game 5 loss in New York, will play tonight in Game 6 back in Indy.

He is scheduled to undergo more tests today to determine if he’s fit to play, and Indiana coach Frank Vogel says the team will be prepared to play with or without Hill.

The NBA implemented its current concussion policy in 2011, but this is the first time a key player has been forced to sit out a playoff game because of it. Hill must pass a battery of tests today before he can be cleared to play. The exams include riding a stationary bike, jogging, agility work and non-contact team drills.

A neurologist working for the league (not the team) must sign off before Hill can suit up.

As the playoffs have shown, one player in or out of the lineup can have a major impact. Just ask the Bulls (Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich), Thunder (Russell Westbrook), Nuggets (Danilo Gallinari), or Celtics or Lakers. With Hill the Pacers have dominated against the Knicks, winning three games and basically having their way on both ends of the court against a befuddled Knicks crew.

With Hill missing (Game 5), New York held Indiana to 36 percent shooting from the field and 75 points overall in a semi-solid victory that staved off the undertaker for a few more days anyway.

Vogel hasn’t said much about Hill’s chances of getting back on the court, but did offer this on Friday: [ad-6571516]

“I think our guys are very confident. They know what they have to do to beat the Knicks. I think they believe very, very strongly that they can do it even without George Hill. I think they’re going to come in with great confidence.”

If Hill can’t go, the burden again falls on veteran backup PG D.J. Augustin, who was OK (12 points on 3-for-7 shooting from the field) in Game 5.

Augustin had zero assists, but in his defense the Pacers just asked him to get the ball to David West, Roy Hibbert and Paul George, then get out of the way. Most of the offense now runs through Geroge, who is starting to attract Knick double-teams every time he touches the ball.

Speaking of double-teams, it will be interesting to see how NY coach Mike Woodson plays it defensively tonight. In Game 4 in Indy Woodson ordered double-teams every time the ball went into the post, fearful that an awakened Hibbert would draw early fouls on Tyson Chandler. Tonight? Who knows?

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Loving the Pacers to bounced back big tonight and cover the number, especially if Hill gets a thumbs-up from the doctor. New York has shot horribly in this series, and since their Game 2 victory the Knicks have averaged only 79 points a game.

In the two games in Indiana they have scored only 76 points per game. As to the total, three straight games have gone under, but the number has melted to 178.5, so it may be time to stay away from the O/U.

Pacers -5 looks solid as the Knicks shrink again on the road and the players begin their summer vacation.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


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