Knicks Game 7 preview: What to know heading into do-or-die matchup with Pacers

Knicks star Jalen Brunson celebrates
New York Knicks’ Jalen Brunson (11) gestures to fans after making a three-point shot during the second half of Game 5 in an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in New York. The Knicks won 121-91. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Madison Square Garden will be rocking Sunday afternoon as the New York Knicks face the Indiana Pacers in the decisive Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

It’s the first time The World’s Most Famous Arena has hosted a Knicks Game 7 in nearly 30 years, and the New York faithful hope this won’t be a repeat of history — as in 1995, Reggie Miller and the Pacers knocked the Knicks out of the playoffs in Game 7 of the semifinals, .and denied them a chance at repeating as Eastern Conference champions.

All these years later, the Knicks have the opportunity not only to turn the tables on the pesky Pacers, but also advance to their first Eastern Conference Finals since 1999. It will not be an easy task; the Knicks lineup has been depleted with injuries this series to OG Anunoby and Josh Hart, both of whom were initially listed as questionable for Game 7, but made the starting lineup after shootaround prior to the game.

Anunoby suffered a hamstring injury in Game 3 of the series, while Hart wound up with an abdominal strain during Game 6. When Anunoby is on the court, the Knicks are a different team. They went 20-3 in games he started or participated in since acquiring the former Toronto Raptor in February. 

Along with hoping that Anunoby or Hart can offer Willis Reed-type heroics Sunday, the Knicks will also hope that being back at home gives them the edge. The home team has won each game of this series, and historically, in NBA playoff Game 7s, the home team wins about 75.9% of the time, according to NBA.com.

New York will be turning again to Jalen Brunson, the fan favorite who has carried the Knicks on his shoulders throughout the playoffs with numerous 40+ point performances; and a strong effort from center Isaiah Hartenstein, whose 12 offensive rebounds in Game 5 helped propel the Knicks to a blowout victory.

Tip-off for Game 7 at the Garden is 3:30 p.m. If you can’t get a ticket, you can watch it on ABC or stream it live on ESPN+.