But his Pacers didn’t put together the game they needed in losing 85-75, giving the New York Knicks new life, although Indiana still has a 3-2 series lead.
West put in an excellent 38 minutes with 7-of-17 in shooting from the floor, plus 10 rebounds, three steals and two assists.
The Indiana defense was excellent again. The main problem was that the offense didn’t come through.
In Game 6, the Pacers will need to get the offense going again. But they’ve been playing very well at home. It would be advisable for West and his teammates to pull out all the stops and get the job done in Game 6. That would also get the Pacers on a better footing going up against the Miami Heat in the NBA East Finals.
But the Knicks won’t go away quietly and West realizes this. It’s his 10th NBA season and he needs to give more leadership than ever before if the Pacers are going to advance in the NBA Playoffs. The Pacers played without George Hill in Game 5 because of a concussion he’s recovering from, and that puts more pressure on West.
West has had the type of playoff series the Pacers need from him. In the two combined playoff series, he’s averaging 15.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists, plus 34.3 minutes a game. He’s shooting an excellent 47.5 percent from the floor and 87.8 percent from the free-throw line.
The Pacers will need West to have a big night in Game 6. That also holds true for the rest of his teammates.