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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / June 19.
  • Whether or Not He Plays, Knicks Preparing for George Hill

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    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    Geirge HillIndiana Pacers point guard George Hill is being called day-to-day with a concussion that forced him to miss his team’s 85-75 Game 5 loss to the Knicks on Thursday evening. Despite Hill’s status being up in the air, the Knicks are readying for Saturday night’s do-or-die Game 6 as if Hill will play.

    “With or without George, the pressure has to stay the same if George was playing,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said via conference call on Friday afternoon. “We’re preparing that he is gonna play, but we just gotta continue to apply pressure either way. It doesn’t matter who’s out there.”

    Hill was a late scratch roughly 90 minutes before the start of Game 5. In Tuesday’s Game 4 victory, which gave the Pacers a 3-1 lead in the series, Hill caught an elbow to the head from Tyson Chandler, but he stayed in the game, finishing with 26 points on 9-for-14 shooting in 37 minutes.

    He began to complain of headaches Thursday morning and eventually failed concussion tests later in the day before being ruled out. Before he can return, the fifth-year pro will need to pass a series of tests and be cleared by an independent neurologist under the NBA’s concussion protocol, which has been in place since December, 2011.

    There is no timetable for return under the protocol. Los Angeles Clippers center Chris Kaman was out 27 days at one point this season with a concussion, while Memphis Grizzlies power forward Darrell Arthur suffered one on a Friday and was back playing the following Monday.

    In Hill’s absence, D.J. Augustin was thrust into starting duty, while All-Star small forward Paul George was asked to handle the ball more. Augustin finished with 12 points and just two turnovers, but shot 3-for-9 from the field and had zero assists.

    Without it’s primary ball-handler in Hill, who enjoyed a breakout season while seeing full-time starter’s minutes at the point for the first time, committed 19 turnovers, four of which belonged to George.

    “We’ve been doing that all year, that’s nothing new, we’ve been one of the better teams in the league at forcing turnovers,” Woodson said. “On the flip side of that, we haven’t turned it over, so we gotta continue to keep the pressure up and make it a battle because that’s what it’s gonna be.”

    The Knicks ranked 10th in the NBA during the regular season in opponent turnovers per game at 14.5, while they led the league in turnovers per game at just 11.6.

    Game 6 is set for an 8 p.m. tip at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, with a potential Game 7 coming Monday evening back at Madison Square Garden, also at 8 p.m. The winner of this series advances to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. Game 1 of that series is set for Wednesday evening at 8:30 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena.

    Photo: Getty

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