Three Pacers who need to step up in Game 6

These players are called upon to deliver for the Indiana Pacers to avoid elimination.
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Five
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Five / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

With Thursday night's Game 6 being played at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the Pacers look to not only extend the series against the Knicks but to also keep their season alive. Down 3-2, Indiana must win or it's over.

Despite having the league's best offense in the regular season, the Pacers have appeared to lose gas, especially on the road. Luckily for them, they are undefeated at home in the postseason... for now.

Though the season has had many bright spots and highlights, these Pacers want a ring. In order to make that happen and avoid elimination, these three Pacers players need to excel in Game 6.

Aaron Nesmith

The Vanderbilt University product has been a nice addition to the Pacers. With the absence of Bennedict Mathurin and sending off Buddy Hield, Indiana has plugged the four-year veteran into the starting lineup.

During the regular season, Nesmith averaged 12.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists a game. His field goal percentage has been close to 50% during the year. Although his rebounds and assists have increased in the playoffs thus far, Nesmith's points per game and field goal percentage has seen some dips.

He is only averaging 10 points a game while shooting just 37.4% from the floor. While Nesmith shot almost 42% from behind the arc, he has only connected on 29.8% of those same shots in the playoffs.

In Game 3, Nesmith produced 10 points and six rebounds. He connected on two of his three shots from behind the arc. Then in Game 4, he tallied 8 points and a dozen boards. Here, Nesmith went cold and missed all four from three-point land.

The Pacers' starting small forward needs to deliver if Indiana are to force a Game 7 and hopefully win out this semifinal series against the Knicks.

Pascal Siakam

Indiana made the in-season trade to acquire Siakam from the Toronto Raptors. The Pacers' power forward has been a wonderful addition to their high-octane offense.

His numbers improved while switching teams. However, Siakam just 20.8 points a contest compared to his 21.7 during the regular season. His three-point shooting percentage has also decreased.

Siakam shot 38.6% behind the arc during the regular season and is only shooting 31.3% from three during the playoffs. He is a decent defender, too.

Furthermore, Siakam has turned the ball over less in the playoffs. During the regular season, he averaged 1.4 turnovers a game. So far in this series, there are only two games (out of the five) that he has turned the ball over more than once.

The 6'8'' and 245-pounder has more than just playoff experience to bring to the Pacers' locker room. Siakam also won a title with Toronto in 2019. Just five years ago, he closed out the season as a champion.

If Siakam and the rest of the Pacers look to have the same experience this year, the eight-year veteran will need to score, rebound, and help space the floor.

Tyrese Haliburton

The All-Star point guard is being outplayed by Knicks star, Jalen Brunson. Haliburton needs to do better than his 18.5 points and 8.2 assists a game in the playoffs. These are lower than his regular season averages of 20.1 points and almost 11 assists a contest.

Haliburton has fared much better at home. In Game 3, he went off for 35 points and seven assists. He also connected on six of his sixteen shots from behind the arc.

In Game 4, Haliburton had 20 points on just 15 shots. Ten of those were from three-point land, making four of them. He also accumulated five assists.

Brunson has topped 40 points multiple times this postseason for the Knicks. It will take a performance like his from the fourth-year talent from Iowa State.

While Haliburton has rebounded better in this postseason (up 1.1 rebounds a game more than the regular season), he is a major reason why Indiana had the league's best offense. He was the best passer in the NBA.

Both, his field goal percentage and three-point percentage in the regular season are close to the same as they are now in the playoffs. Haliburton needs to be more aggressive with the ball, whether he is shooting or passing to set up the basket.


The Pacers are one loss away from their season-ending. The regular double-double performance Indiana grew accustomed to in the regular season needs to reappear Thursday night.