Pacers collect Bucks, wait for winner from Knicks-76ers

If the New York Knicks defeat the Philadelphia 76ers, they will face another familiar opponent in round two.

After a strong relief performance from former Knick Obi Toppin (21 points, 8 of 15, 8 rebounds), the sixth-seeded Indiana Pacers completed their upset of the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks with a 120-98 win in Game 6 of their Eastern quarterfinal series Conference in Indianapolis. With the 4-2 series win, their first since 2014, the Pacers now wait for the winner of the Knicks-76ers series. Game 6 of this set will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Led by Tyrese Haliburton and off-season addition Pascal Siakam, the Pacers celebrated their first winning season in five years. Indiana already took second place in the first NBA in-season tournament last winter.

There will be no shortage of headlines when the Knicks face Indiana in the conference semifinals: Toppin, the Knicks' top pick in the 2020 draft, was traded to the Pacers in the summer for meager draft compensation and has found himself in a reliable role establishes the bank. Indiana won the season series against the Knicks by a 2-1 margin, although one of the wins came when New York was severely shorthanded after trading for Siakam's former Toronto teammates OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa.

A second-round meeting would also be the eighth playoff meeting between the Knicks and Pacers, a series that plays a checkered role in Knicks history: the Knicks' last two trips to the NBA Finals (1994, 1999). each was a win over the Pacers, although Indiana has won four of the first seven. The last one came in 2013, when the Pacers defeated a Knicks squad that was ranked second – the same spot where the current squad is based.

If the Knicks win, the series will open at Madison Square Garden, while Indiana will retain home-field advantage at Gainbridge Fieldhouse when the seventh-seeded 76ers pull off the upset from a 3-1 deficit. A full schedule for the series will be released at a later date.

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Anna Harden

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