Saffron Restaurants reservation Andrew Nembhard finishes in double figures, Indiana Pacers lose to New York Knicks in Game 5

Andrew Nembhard finishes in double figures, Indiana Pacers lose to New York Knicks in Game 5

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Andrew Nembhard got a taste of everything in his first postseason experience.

From big wins to small losses and everything in between, the former Gonzaga standout has fought through it all while guarding some of the league’s best scorers. In the first round against the Milwaukee Bucks, Nembhard spent the better part of six games chasing around All-NBA talent Damian Lillard. Lillard got his share of buckets, but it was Nembhard and the Pacers who had the last laugh heading into the second round.

Lately, Nembhard has had a hand in slowing down the New York Knicks’ Jalen Brunson, which is certainly easier said than done. The former Villanova star and leading scorer of the 2024 playoffs scored 40 or more points in four consecutive games between the first and second rounds, a streak that only Michael Jordan has achieved. The Pacers managed to hold Brunson to 18 points in a 121-89 loss in Game 4, though they quickly learned Tuesday how difficult it is to contain the 6-foot-4 guard on a consistent basis.

Brunson led the Knicks to a 121-91 win at Madison Square Garden, finishing with 44 points, seven assists and four rebounds to give New York a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Knicks rode a 15-point lead into halftime before going on a 17-0 scoring run in the second half to finish off the Pacers, who were led by Pascal Siakam’s 22 points and eight boards.

Nembhard, who helped change the course of the series with a game-winning 3-pointer in Game 3, finished with 11 points and four assists on Tuesday night. He shot 4-for-10 from the field and made a pair of 3-pointers in 27 minutes of action.

Nembhard has been a solid contributor during his first postseason as a pro. Through his first ten playoff games, the 6-foot-4 Canadian averaged 12.3 points, 4.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds and shot an efficient 57.3% from the floor, including 43.3% from the 3-point range. He made 50% or more of his field goal attempts in seven games and scored in double figures eight times, including Tuesday’s performance.

The highlight of Nembhard’s young career came during Game 3 against New York on Friday, when he connected on a 30-foot jump shot to put the Pacers ahead 109-106 with 17.1 seconds left in regulation time. Nembhard had made just one field goal to that point, but that didn’t seem to matter when the fate of the game was at stake.

Indiana routed New York in Game 4 to set up a pivotal Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, though the Knicks returned the favor and seized control of the series heading to Indiana. Game 6 is Friday.