- Pacers point guard George Hill is out with a concussion after taking a shot from Tyson Chandler in Game 4. Pacers coach Frank Vogel called him “day-to-day” for a possible Game 6. “He’s gotta pass the NBA protocol concussion test,” Vogel said. D.J. Augustin will “play most of the minutes” while Lance Stephenson and Ben Hansbrough could also play some point. Vogel also said he could play Augustin and Hansbrough together. Hill has outscored the Knicks’ starting backcourt, 69-62, in the series, including 26 points of 9-for-14 shooting in Game 4. The Pacers are 3-2 this season without Hill. ”He was really good in Game 4,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “I can’t worry about that…They’re still a really good basketball team with or without George.”
- Woodson will return to his “small” lineup of Pablo Prigioni, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Chandler. In Game 4, Woodson started Kenyon Martin at power forward and only played Prigioni three minutes. After that resulted in a 93-82 loss, he opted to revert back to the small lineup. Woodson also said he planned to Chris Copeland more off the bench. “That’s been good for us pretty much all season, so I’m going back to it,” Woodson said of the small lineup. “We didn’t win, so I’m going back the other way.”
- Rihanna said on Instagram that J.R. Smith was struggling in the series because he’s hungover from partying. Woodson said he only “got wind” of the story today. Asked if Smith was a distraction, Woodson said: “That’s the unknown. Sometimes things get away from you. J.R.’s had his ups and downs of late but I still believe in J.R. and his teammates believe in him. We’re expecting a big game from him.” Asked if he was following the Rihanna story, Woodson said, “I don’t follow that. Seriously, you guys follow that. I don’t follow that. It has no bearing on this game tonight. He’s gotta come out and play.”
- Only eight NBA teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit, and the Knicks are 0-12 in such situations. “You have to play with desperation no matter what the situation is, so I expect our guys to play that way tonight,” Vogel said.
- The reigning NBA champion Miami Heat await the winner of this series.
- Adam Zagoria