NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points to help the New York Knicks stay alive in the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 85-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 on Thursday night.
Reserves J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland each had 13 points for the Knicks, who trail 3-2 and will need a victory Saturday in Indiana to force a seventh game back here Monday. They are trying to become the ninth NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series.
Anthony, who didn’t make a basket in the fourth quarter of either game in Indiana, made a jumper midway through the fourth quarter after Indiana closed within four points. He followed with two free throws, Raymond Felton made a layup, and the Knicks were never in jeopardy again.
Paul George had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers. They played without point guard George Hill because of a concussion and committed 19 turnovers.
But George battled foul trouble and couldn’t contain Anthony quite as well as he had while the Pacers easily won the previous two games.
David West had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who were trying to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004.
The winner faces the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in a series that will start Wednesday.
New York didn’t really shake its scoring slump, shooting only 41 percent from the field, but put together a few runs during the game to open just enough space against a Pacers team that shot 36 percent and was a dismal 19 of 33 at the free throw line.
They clearly missed Hill after learning about four hours before the game they would be without him.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Hill was hurt after a collision with Knicks center Tyson Chandler during the first half of Indiana’s 93-82 victory on Tuesday. Hill finished the game and scored 26 points, but experienced some headaches and showed concussion symptoms since and wasn’t able to pass the league’s concussion tests so he could play Thursday night.
The Knicks went back to their regular lineup, reinserting Pablo Prigioni, after going with a bigger group in Game 4 in a futile effort to match Indiana on the boards. The smaller group did a better job, getting outrebounded only 43-40.
The Knicks finally opened it up midway through the third quarter with a 12-4 run, started by Smith’s bank shot and featuring a 3-pointer and follow shot from Copeland, who got more playing time while coach Mike Woodson gave little to veterans Amare Stoudemire and the slumping Jason Kidd, who missed his only shot and remains scoreless in the series.
Anthony made a jumper and a 3-pointer on his first two shots, and Iman Shumpert followed with another jumper for a 7-0 start. Smith got a big ovation when he checked in, which grew much louder when he made his first shot, dribbling back behind the arc for a 3-pointer that made it 17-12 with 2:56 left in the opening quarter.
Smith has endured a miserable stretch since elbowing Boston’s Jason Terry in the fourth quarter of Game 3 in the first round. Suspended for Game 4, he hasn’t relocated his shot since, hitting 28 percent in the first four games and has been criticized for not being focused after he was seen out a nightclub with singer Rihanna the night before Game 1 — a day game.
He was only 4 of 11, but hit the jumper that started the Knicks’ run in the third quarter.
The Knicks extended their 19-15 lead after one to 32-23 on Copeland’s 3-pointer with 7:06 remaining in the second. The Pacers chipped away for most of the half but couldn’t take the large in part because of their sloppy free throw shooting, going 8 of 16 in the half that agonizingly wouldn’t end when both Chandler and the Pacers’ Sam Young committed fouls more than 30 feet from the basket in the final 2.4 seconds.