Indiana moved into the NBA Eastern Conference finals with a 106-99 final win over the New York Knicks on Saturday, with Lance Stephenson scoring nine of his playoff career-high 23 points during a late 11-2 run that sealed a 4-2 series victory.
The New York native also had 10 rebounds and the Pacers were spurred by the return of point guard George Hill two days after he was diagnosed with a concussion.
Next up is a rematch with Miami, who eliminated Indiana last season. Game 1 is scheduled for Wednesday at Miami.
Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points and Iman Shumpert had 19 for New York.
Indiana is 6-0 at home in the playoffs, but this one was not easy.
Indiana trailed 92-90 with 5:43 minutes left. The Pacers rallied after Roy Hibbert blocked Anthony’s dunk attempt and Stephenson scored on a layup that started the decisive spurt.
The big question coming into the game was whether Hill could return after missing Game 5. He did, and the Pacers reverted to their brand of basketball.
They limited New York to 40 percent shooting, had a 43-36 rebounding advantage, committed 10 fewer turnovers than in Game 5 and again protected their home court.
New York played better than it had in the first five games of the series, making 13 of 30 three-pointers and fought valiantly.
Indiana gave the Knicks chances. The Pacers blew 10-point leads in the second and third quarters and suddenly found themselves playing catch-up in the fourth quarter, when Chris Copeland made back-to-back three-pointers to give New York an 89-86 lead with 9:01 to play. J.R. Smith’s next three made it 92-90.
That was when Hibbert changed the game as Anthony drove in for a one-handed dunk attempt. Paul George grabbed the rebound and Stephenson tied the score with a layup at the other end. Stephenson followed that with a steal and coast-to-coast layup, made two more free throws, and after David West scored on a tip-in, Stephenson scored on another layup to make it 101-95.
The Knicks never got another chance to tie the score or take the lead.
George had 23 points and West finished with 17. Hill was just two of 10 from the field in his return, but scored 12 points, had five rebounds and four assists.