Knicks have no answers for Pacers’ Pascal Siakam in Game 6 loss

INDIANAPOLIS — This is why Indiana traded for Pascal Siakam: for nights like Friday’s Game 6 that he won for the Pacers and the Game 7 that the 116-103 victory earned them.

Siakam repaid their faith with a team-high 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals to lift the young Pacers past the Knicks.

“It feels good. I mean, obviously being part of the team, it feels like awhile now. But yeah, just happy to be here, support from everyone,” Siakam said. “Obviously after the Game [5], we had just wanted to respond as a team and I thought we did that well. Yeah, I’m happy to be part of this team and just want to keep going and hopefully get a win on Sunday.”

Pascal Siakam, who scored 25 points, makes a move on Donte DiVincenzo during the Knicks' 116-103 loss to the Pacers in Game 6.
Pascal Siakam, who scored 25 points, makes a move on Donte DiVincenzo during the Knicks’ 116-103 loss to the Pacers in Game 6. Getty Images

Siakam is the lone Pacers player who knows what true winning feels like.

He won an NBA title in 2019 with the Raptors, to whom Indiana traded three first-round draft picks midseason for his services.

It was for his leadership, especially in the sweaty-palm moments when the game was close.

But he had eight points in a 32-21 second quarter when they blew it open, then got his own looks with veteran post-up play once the game slowed in the third and fourth quarters.

“Look, he’s a tremendous player. We got him because we wanted to make the playoffs and be able to advance in the playoffs. But we’re also building something,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’re trying to build something special here. And we think he’s a special person along with being a special player. So in the second half, there were some possessions where he’s the only guy on our roster that can manufacture a 16-foot shot over a 7-foot guy and make it.

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“And he did it three or four times in the third and fourth quarter. So, yeah. Listen, in a series like this, you can’t sit around patting yourself on the back. That’s what gets your ass kicked the next game. So we’re gonna keep our celebrations very short, if at all, after this game and get ready for Sunday afternoon.”

Siakam was efficient, going 11 of 21 from the floor and slicing up the Knicks defense with foul line jumpers and cuts to the rim.

“You know, when they put a smaller guy on him we need him to do what he does and attack the paint, be a beast down low. And it’s hard to guard. It puts pressure on their defense and when he’s going, he has it going and makes it easy for kick-outs,” Aaron Nesmith said.

“I mean, he didn’t force anything. He just kind of let the game come to him. And I mean, he’s just a special player,” TJ McConnell said. “When we traded for him, it was I think for him [to have games] like he’s had here, going to get us a bucket when we really need it, and just bring a different dynamic to this team. And he’s been incredible.”

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