The Indiana Pacers pulled off a 116-103 victory in front of their fans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the New York Knicks on Friday night to keep their season alive. Now, they will head back to Madison Square Garden for a winner-takes-all Game 7 that will determine who ends up advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.

The Pacers have been underdogs all series long, and that will be the case once again in Game 7. The home team has won each game so far in this series, so if history repeats itself, the Knicks will win and move onto the next round. But this series has been an absolute dog fight so far, and anything can happen in Game 7, so you cannot automatically count out Indiana because of that trend through the first six games of the season.

It's going to be tough in front of a rowdy crowd at MSG, but Indiana has been defying expectations for much of their postseason run so far, and there are a couple of interesting developments that will make this game closer than it initially seems it will be. So with all that being said, let's see why the Pacers will pull off an upset over the Knicks in Game 7 to shockingly advance to the ECF.

How the Pacers can upset the Knicks and win Game 7

Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) and center Myles Turner (33) guard Andrew Nembhard (2) celebrate a made basket during game four of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the New York Knicks at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the first six games of this series, the Pacers have looked like a completely different team when they are winning and when they are losing, which isn't exactly a surprise. When they are winning, they are pushing the pace on offense, creating open shots before the Knicks can set their defense. When they are losing they are on their heels, struggling to create offense and limit Jalen Brunson on the other end of the floor.

The home team has controlled the tempo throughout the first six games of this series, so Indiana is going to have to change that in Game 7. That's going to fall on the shoulders of Tyrese Haliburton, who is the team's motor on offense. When this team is at their best, Haliburton is flying up and down the court creating open shots for his teammates, while also aggressively seeking out his own shots when he has to as well.

The Pacers cannot come out and allow Brunson to take over this game early on, and that was precisely what they did in Game 6. Rather than allowing Brunson to get his points and focus on shutting his teammates down, Indiana threw tons of bodies at Brunson, and he struggled mightily in the early going, missing 11 straight shots at one point. He eventually found his way in the second half, but the Pacers offense was already cooking by then, so it didn't really matter.

You never want to see injuries play a determining factor in playoff games, but the Knicks are so beat up that you are almost obliged to acknowledge it. Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and Bojan Bogdanovic all haven't factored into this series, but now Josh Hart and OG Anunoby may not play in Game 7, and even Brunson is laboring through a foot injury that has hampered him throughout the series.

Chances are Anunoby won't play, while Hart will play in Game 7, which is pretty much what New York has dealt with throughout the series. If Hart is as limited as he was when he was on the floor in Game 6, though, that's a huge win for the Pacers. Hart has been the Knicks iron man throughout the postseason, doing a little bit of everything to help them grind out wins.

Brunson is already shouldering a massive load on offense, so if another one of the top members of his supporting cast is out entirely or struggling on the day, Indiana will have a leg up on New York. Of course, they will have to continue to play their best basketball, but you are looking for every advantage possible when the stakes are this high.

There are two keys to this game for the Pacers, injuries aside. On offense, Haliburton cannot be a spectator. He needs the ball in his hands when this team needs points, as he is this team's best creator, whether it be for himself or others. Sure, Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell can initiate things from time-to-time, but Indiana falls into far too many lulls where their best player goes extended periods of time without touching the ball.

Defensively, Indiana has to have a cohesive plan for how they want to defend Brunson. They did enough to slow him down in Game 6, but even with his slow start, he got going in the second half to still finish the night with 31 points, which is pretty impressive all things considered. The Pacers haven't figured out a consistent way to quiet him, but they only need to do it for about a quarter-and-a-half now, because that may be all they need to win this game.

It's going to be a grind, but the Pacers have proven that they can beat this Knicks team. If they go out and play their brand of basketball, they will be able to find a way to come out on top in this do-or-die game. They may be the underdog, but don't count Indiana out just yet, as they are more than capable of sending New York home for the offseason. It's just a matter of which version of this team decides to show up on Sunday afternoon.