Takeaways: Knicks’ inspiring season ends with stunning Game 7 loss to Pacers

NEW YORK − Game 7.

The best two words in sports.

And that was the situation the Knicks found themselves in after failing to put the Indiana Pacers away in Game 6, falling on the road and thus facing elimination at Madison Square Garden.

The winner of Sunday’s game advances to play the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

It won’t be the Knicks, however, who lost to Pacers, 130-109.

Here’s how it happened:

FINAL: Pacers 130, Knicks 109

Just a brutal Game 7 for the Knicks as injuries and limitations took their toll.

The Pacers were scorching hot from the field and never relented. The Knicks couldn’t slow them down enough, though they did cut it to six in the third quarter.

They just couldn’t complete the comeback.

The biggest blow came in the fourth quarter when the Knicks announced that Jalen Brunson was out of the rest of the game with a fractured left hand.

The Knicks already were without Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic. Josh Hart played through abdominal soreness Sunday, while OG Anunoby started after missing the previous four games with a hamstring injury.

But he only played five minutes, and not at all in the second half.

All of that caught up to the Knicks, who looked like they had run out of gas.

They got blown out by Indiana in Game 6, but maintained that the home crowd would help them rebound and get a win in Game 7.

That didn’t happen.

Now the Pacers advance to play the Boston Celtics in the conference finals.

Jalen Brunson out for game with fractured left hand

Just announced by the Knicks.

Huge blow for them.

They’re down 108-92 with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter.

End of the third quarter: Pacers 101, Knicks 84

The Pacers are still shooting 70 percent.

The Knicks have a lot of work to do if they’re season’s going to go beyond the fourth quarter.

Alec Burks is up to 19 points.

Still no sign of Jalen Brunson on the bench, though.

Jalen Brunson headed back to locker room

Unclear why, but Brunson left the court and walked back toward the locker room with about three minutes to go in the third quarter.

He did the same shortly before, but it was brief and he returned to the court.

3Q, 5:33: Pacers back up by 12

Knicks cut it to seven on a three by DiVincenzo, but a three by Myles Turner before Tyrese Haliburton intercepted a Brunson pass and finished with a fast-break bucket put Indiana up 82-70.

The Knicks can’t afford those types of turnovers right now.

3Q, 10:01: Knicks cut it it four

A goaltending call on the Pacers (on a layup attempt by Jalen Brunson) and a bucket by Deuce McBride have cut the Knicks’ deficit to 70-59.

OG Anunoby, by the way, did not start the second half.

Halftime: Pacers 70, Knicks 55

All things considered, the Knicks are lucky to be within 15 points. They trailed by as many as 22.

Indiana shot 76.3 percent in the first half and went 8-of-12 from deep. Tyrese Haliburton has 16 points.

The Knicks’ defense just wasn’t good enough for most of the first half.

The Knicks shot 46.5 percent in the first half and went 4-of-14 from deep.

Alec Burks and Donte DiVincenzo each have 14 points.

Alec Burks is up to 14 points

What a game, so far, for Burks.

He’s hit 5-of-6 shots and he’s hit three free throws.

We even had an “Alec Burks!” chant earlier. Just as we all predicted for Game 7.

Knicks are trailing 64-47 with 3:12 left in the first half.

End of the first quarter: Rough start for the Knicks

The Pacers up 39-27 after one period.

They’re shooting a blistering 76.2 percent from the field and are 7-of-9 from three-point range. The Knicks’ defense needs to get much better.

Tyrese Haliburton has 14 points already.

DiVincenzo leads the Knicks with 12.

Donte DiVincenzo, Pascal Siakam assessed technical fouls

Strange sequence here at the 4:50 mark of the first quarter.

The officials initially called a foul on the Tyrese Haliburton, who appeared to hit Donte DiVincenzo’s arm as DiVincenzo drove to the basket for a layup.

Then while DiVincenzo was at the line getting ready to shoot, Siakam was in the lane, appearing to stall to give the Pacers time to decide if they were going to challenge. DiVincenzo went to push him out of the way, and Siakam got in his face about it.

Indiana did challenge the call and won as Haliburton got the ball, not DiVincenzo’s arm.

But DiVincenzo and Siakam got double technical fouls.

Good start for OG Anunoby

He’s already hit a three and a tough jumper from the right corner in the opening three minutes.

Anonoby’s not moving tremendously well, though (at least it looks that way from the Chase Bridge).

Pacers up 11-7 early.

1Q, 11:32: Jalen Brunson starts the scoring

A short jumper for the Knicks star and we’re officially underway.

Will Josh Hart and OG Anunoby play today?

Yes. Yes they will

Both players are in the starting five.

They players went through pre-game warmups to see if they’d be available −and just how limited they might be.

“I feel solid,” Hart said in the locker room before heading out for warmups. “We’ll see how I feel in 15 minutes.”

Hart left Game 6 with abdominal soreness after getting hit by Andrew Nembhard. He went to the bench for stretches (a rare sight) before leaving the game altogether.

“This is Game 7 in The Garden,” Hart said. “My whole process, even when I went out of the game, was what do I have to do to play? That’s my thoughts on it. We’ll see how I feel in 15 (minutes). At the end of the day, no matter how I think I feel, just depends on how effective I can be. If I’m not I’ve got to allow other guys to have that opportunity.”

Anunoby hasn’t played since suffering a hamstring injury in Game 2.

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