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Nothing but net: Pacers shoot their way to conference finals

Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard (2) shoots during the first half of Game 7 in an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the New York Knicks, Sunday, May 19, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

NEW YORK (WISH) — Tyrese Haliburton’s step-back 3-pointers. T.J. McConnell’s off-balance shots in the paint. Aaron Nesmith’s layups in traffic. It didn’t matter what type of shot it was for the Pacers. They were all going in. They shot a ridiculous 67% in Game 7, beating the New York Knicks 130-109 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the Boston Celtics.

The Pacers were fueled by their first half performance. Their 39 points in the first quarter was the most in a Game 7 in NBA history. They had the best first half shooting performance in a playoff game in the last 25 years, per ESPN Stats & Info. They shot a whopping 76.3% in the first 24 minutes.

The Pacers got six players in double figures in points, headlined by Haliburton who lead the Pacers with 26 points while knocking down six threes.

Aaron Nesmith didn’t miss a shot, going 8-8 from the field for 19 points. He was also critical in shutting down Jalen Brunson, who shot 6-17 from the floor for a series low 17 points.

Brunson also fractured his left hand in the fourth quarter and missed the rest of the game.

The Knicks went on a 12-0 run between the end of the second quarter and the start of the third and cut the Pacers lead down to six, but the Pacers responded when it mattered and closed out the Knicks.

This was the first game of the series that the road team won.

This is the first time the Pacers have made the Eastern Conference Finals since 2014, when they lost to the Heat in six games.

The series will start in Boston. Game 1 will be on Tuesday at 8 p.m. and Game 2 is set for Thursday at 8 p.m. as well.

The Pacers will return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse for Games 3 and 4 in what should be a crazy Memorial Day weekend in the Circle City. Game 3 on Saturday at 8:30 p.m., then the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, and Game 4 at 8 p.m. on Monday.