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Haliburton, Pacers take advantage of short-handed Knicks to even series with 121-89 rout in Game 4

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — After three games that went down to the wire, the Indiana Pacers were off and running early in Game 4.

The short-handed New York Knicks just didn’t have the legs to keep up.

Tyrese Haliburton scored 20 points, T.J. McConnell finished with 15 points and 10 assists and the Pacers routed the Knicks 121-89, using the third-largest playoff victory in the franchise’s NBA history to even the series at 2-2.

Game 5 will be played Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

“All we did was do our job,” Haliburton said after finishing with six rebounds, five assists and four 3-pointers. “When you’re at home, you have to protect home court, so we did our job. We understand the magnitude of Game 5 and we’ll be prepared for that one.”

The first three games all came down to key plays in the final three minutes.

Sunday’s provided a different twist. Indiana led by as much as 43 — the largest deficit any playoff team has faced in these playoffs — and fell just short of matching its two largest NBA postseason victories, a 34-point blowout over Cleveland in April 2018 and a 33-point win over the Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals.

And while Indiana could seemingly do nothing wrong, the Knicks couldn’t do anything right.

Pascal Siakam and Obi Toppin each scored 14 points, Aaron Nesmith grabbed 12 rebounds and the Pacers shot 56.8% from the field, 45.2% on 3-pointers and erased their only deficit of the game, 2-0, just 44 seconds into the game.

The Knicks, who again played without four key players because of injuries, looked fatigued.

Alec Burks finished with 20 points for New York. Brunson, who entered the day with a league-best 34.6 points per game in the postseason, scored only 18 on a day the Knicks shot 33.7% from the field, 18.9% on 3s and flirted with posting the worst playoff loss in franchise history. The record, 41, came at Chicago in April 1991.

Brunson wasn’t the only one struggling. Donte DiVincenzo, who had 35 points in Game 3, scored just seven on Sunday. The two guards were a combined 9 of 30 from the field and 1 of 11 on 3s.

“We can talk about fresher legs and you can give us all the pity we want,” Brunson said. “Yeah, we’re short-handed, but that doesn’t