• Hibbert powers Pacers past Knicks

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    Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers shoots against Tyson Chandler #6 of the New York Knicks during game three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. AFP PHOTO

    INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana: Roy Hibbert finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds and George Hill hit five three pointers as the Indiana Pacers beat the New York Knicks 82-71 in game three of their second round NBA playoff series.

    “The pre-game mantra I had was, ‘tonight’s my night, tonight’s my night’,” Hibbert said.

    “Luckily my hooks (shots) were falling. I was around the basket, tipping balls and creating extra possessions.”

    Paul George finished with 14 points, eight assists and five steals, while David West had 11 points and 12 boards for Indiana, which rebounded from a 105-79 loss in game two.

    Hill also had 17 points for the Pacers, which went 10-of-33 from beyond the arc in front of a crowd of 18,165 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

    The Indiana Pacers now head into game four late Tuesday with a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

    Carmelo Anthony finished with 21 points for the Knicks, which got Amare Stoudemire back in the lineup after he missed two months because of right knee surgery. Stoudemire scored seven points in nine minutes of playing time.

    Knicks J.R. Smith, who is suffering from an illness and almost didn’t play Saturday, had nine points.

    “We know if we take the three (pointer) away from this team they are going to struggle to score,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “We were able to guard the paint and the three-point line and that is the goal with this team.”

    Indiana’s biggest problem in game two was turnovers when they committed 21. But they cut that to 17 on Saturday.

    Vogel said he was pleased with the job Hibbert did, not only on offense but also on defense in helping to shut down Anthony, who is battling a shoulder problem.

    “This is his best playoff game ever,” Vogel said of Hibbert. “He is oozing with confidence.

    “Everybody wanted to kick him when he was down early this season when he wasn’t playing with confidence. Now he is playing extremely well on both ends of the court.”

    Hibbert said the key to stopping Anthony is to physically lean on him and take away his time and space.

    “We wanted to make sure we crowded him as much as possible and made things tough for him,” Hibbert said.

    The Pacers started quickly going on a 9-2 run. But the Knicks answered with an 11-2 spurt of their own.

    Tyson Chandler’s layup with 4:20 left in the first quarter gave the Knicks a 13-11 lead, which proved to be their only lead of the contest.

    New York kept the score close by engineering an 11-4 run to end the first half. Kenyon Martin’s layup with three seconds to left cut the Pacers’ lead to 36-33.

    Stoudemire made a three-pointer at the buzzer at the end of the third quarter to get New York within nine 62-53 heading to the fourth.

    Then with 9:10 to play in regulation, Raymond Felton’s three-point play and Anthony’s free throw got New York eight 65-57.

    But Indiana answered with a 7-0 run to put the game away.

    AFP

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