I’ve been all about the bold statements and bold predictions, and this title is a bold one since we don’t even know the status of George Hill. We might not hear anything till right around a couple of hours before tip off like how it went down in game five. But if George Hill is cleared to play, he’s a boost to the team. Plus, he’s a smart enough player not to force the issue at hand, and I believe he’ll play up to where he needs to play. Even if he has to play some limited time, that’s better than no time at all. Granted, this Pacers team has learned to play without guys like Danny Granger, but losing Hill a guy that’s played most of the season is a big loss. Just look at Thursday’s game, and how out of sync the team looked at times.
I do give credit to D.J. Augustin as he’s filled in solidly for Hill when he had to miss some time. But the loss of Hill leaves a big void at point guard, especially in the back up role. Who steps in when Augustin has to sit down? Hill is good for so much out on the floor. He’s solid defensively. He’s good for a basket when the Pacers need it. He’s a great passer, and general floor leader when it comes down to it. He’s the guy out there pointing out where guys need to be, and getting the ball to them when they have that opportunity. Augustin is not as solid of a passer as Hill, and that’s a loss right there.
There’s just a toughness to Hill when he’s playing. He’s got that look in his eye when you know he’s ready to step it up and lead the Pacers. That’s what the Pacers need tonight. They need to be up ready to go for this game, so they can close out the series, and get to their destination of Miami and the Eastern Conference Finals. If this series goes to game seven, all bets are off. Even though I imagine the Knicks would put together this fantastic effort in front of their home crowd, and I don’t know if this Pacers team is ready for something of that magnitude. Most guys are just entering their first taste of more playoff minutes. So it’s important to have Hill and the Pacers at their best this evening in front of the home crowd ready to send the Knicks of New York back to their home.