NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks broke out just enough to stay in it.
Anthony scored 28 points, and the Knicks avoided elimination 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.
“I was totally impressed because we met the challenge,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “I think as a coach you come into games like this and you want to see who’s going to step up and make plays, and I thought we did that tonight. We were the better team in terms of doing that.”
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.
“We’ve just got to play more solid. There’s no other way to put it,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
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.
Anthony made his first two shots as New York raced out to a 7-0 lead in a game it never trailed. He finished only 12-of-28 from the field, but got plenty of bench help.
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.
“We didn’t play well. It was a bad game for us, and we were still there,” George said.
The winner will face 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.
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. He 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. Smith started the spurt with a bank shot, and the run also featured a 3-pointer and follow shot from Copeland, who got more playing time while Woodson gave little to veterans Amare Stoudemire and the slumping Jason Kidd, who missed his only shot and remains scoreless in the series.
“Coaching is a feel. It’s not always what players want at the end of the day, it’s about winning,” Woodson said. “That’s all I’m in it for.”
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 at 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.
Notes: The Phoenix Suns are the last team to win a series after trailing 3-1, beating the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006. The Brooklyn Nets forced Chicago to a seventh game in the first round but dropped Game 7 on their home floor. … West was 5-of-13 in the first half. The other four Indiana starters were 5-for-23.
Knicks 85, Pacers 75
George 7-18 7-10 23, West 7-17 3-6 17, Hibbert 3-7 3-4 9, Augustin 3-9 3-5 12, Stephenson 1-7 2-4 4, Mahinmi 2-2 1-4 5, Young 0-1 0-0 0, T.Hansbrough 0-3 0-0 0, Green 2-5 0-0 5. Totals 25-69 19-33 75.
NEW YORK (85)
Shumpert 2-10 0-0 5, Anthony 12-28 3-4 28, Chandler 1-4 0-0 2, Felton 6-14 0-0 12, Prigioni 1-2 0-0 3, Smith 4-11 4-5 13, Kidd 0-1 0-0 0, Martin 2-2 3-4 7, Stoudemire 0-0 2-2 2, Copeland 4-6 2-2 13, Novak 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-78 14-17 85.
Indiana 15 19 23 18—75
New York 19 21 27 18—85
3-Point Goals—Indiana 6-19 (Augustin 3-7, George 2-6, Green 1-4, Young 0-1, Stephenson 0-1), New York 7-18 (Copeland 3-4, Prigioni 1-2, Anthony 1-3, Smith 1-4, Shumpert 1-4, Felton 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Indiana 60 (West 10), New York 47 (Chandler 8). Assists—Indiana 12 (George 6), New York 12 (Felton 4). Total Fouls—Indiana 18, New York 30. Technicals—West, Anthony, Shumpert. A—19,033 (19,763).