Knicks’ Donte DiVincenzo Fires Back at Pacers: ‘They were trying to be tough guys’

NBA: Playoffs-Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After the New York Knicks were embarrassed in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, losing 121-89 to the Indiana Pacers, they responded in a big way in Game 5, winning 121-91 to take a 3-2 series lead.

The Knicks bounced back in a big way in Game 5

The Knicks made the Pacers feel their presence all game long, ushering in their best defensive performance of the series, and dominating the rebounding battle 53-29. A stark difference in energy and activity levels compared to Game 4. Jalen Brunson was magnificent once again, scoring 44 points in the win. Notably, things got chippy between the two teams multiple times in Game 5, highlighted by a brief scuffle between Knicks G Donte DiVincenzo, and Pacers C Myles Turner

DiVincenzo and Turner involved in scuffle late in the third quarter

Late in the third quarter, with the Knicks up 84-64, DiVincenzo rebounded a Jalen Brunson missed 3-pointer for an emphatic putback dunk. The following possession, he and Turner got tangled up as Turner went to set a screen. DiVincenzo took exception, getting in the face of Turner and the two would have to be separated.

“They were trying to be tough guys. That’s not their identity,” said DiVincenzo when asked about the scuffle. “Nobody’s gonna fight in the NBA. Take the foul, keep it moving. You’re not a tough guy, just keep it moving.”

NBA: Playoffs-Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Altercation with Turner marked DiVincenzo’s second of the game

The altercation marked the second of the game involving DiVincenzo. Early in the second quarter, Pacers F Isaiah Jackson set an illegal screen on DiVincenzo, sending him flying to the hardwood. Knicks C Isaiah Hartenstein came to DiVincenzo’s defense, getting in the face of Jackson, resulting in technical fouls being called on Hartenstein, Jackson, and Alec Burks.

“They’re also family to me,” said Hartenstein when asked about sticking up for his teammates. “If something happens to them, it doesn’t matter what kind of situation it is, I’m always going to stick up for them.”

The Knicks will have a chance to put the Pacers in the rear-view mirror for good in Game 6 on Friday. New York is one win away from their first Conference Finals appearance since 2000. Winning on the road has proven tough for the Knicks in this series, but if Game 5 is any indication, Game 4’s Mother’s Day massacre was taken personally and seems to be giving the Knicks some added motivation as they continue their inspiring playoff run.

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