After a slip up against the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday, the New York Knicks (15-24) were looking to redeem themselves against the Eastern Conference leading Indiana Pacers (31-7). Unfortunately, the Pacers showed why they’ve been dominant all season and handed the Knicks a 117-89 beat-down.
The Knicks jumped out to an early eight-point lead in the 1st quarter, but that advantage was quickly erased by Pacers. From the 2nd quarter on, the Pacers dominated the game and the Knicks couldn’t find an answer.
Brooklyn bred, Lincoln High School product Lance Stephenson scored a career-high 28 points. He was a pest on the court, both offensively and defensively, and this game brought out the “Brooklyn” in him. At times, as the Pacers were building their lead, he was showboating and making some fantastic plays which got his team and the crowd pumped up.
Carmelo Anthony helped the Knicks to get off to a hot start in the 1st quarter, by scoring 18 of the Knicks’ 31 points. At the end of the 1st, the Knicks held a 31-30 lead. Afterwards, the Pacers began to pour it on.
At 7:36, Luis Scola hit an elbow jumper to give the Pacers a 38-36 lead, and that basket jump started a 14-5 run. Later in the quarter, Raymond Felton fed Andrea Bargnani for a jumper to cut the lead to eight, 56-48, but the Pacers responded by ending the quarter on a 7-0 run. Stephenson was the focal point of that run, scoring five points and assisting David West for a lay up. At the half, the Knicks trailed the Pacers 63-48. Knicks shot 44% from the field, while the Pacers shot 52%.
Mental lapses killed the Knicks in the 3rd quarter. On one play, Bargnani threw a lazy pass to Felton, which was stolen by George Hill. Hill found Paul George in the corner wide open for three, and the Knicks found themselves down by 22 (78-56) with 7:19 to go. Pacers led by 18 to end the 3rd, 87-69, and it got worse for the Knicks in the 4th.
At one point, the Knicks cut the lead to 16 off of a J.R. Smith elbow jumper -- 91-75 -- with about nine minutes to go. After that basket, the Pacers went on a 17-3 run to put the game out of contention. Pacers held their largest lead of 30-points later in the quarter.
The Pacers have won their last four games at home against the Knicks. Also, the Pacers are holding teams to only 88.1 points against per game and have a differential of 9.8 PPG. Pacers currently lead the NBA in both categories.
This game is the Knicks second loss in a row, and they have another tough test on Friday as the Los Angeles Clippers travel to the Garden.
Key Stats: Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 28 points and 7 rebounds. Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 9 rebounds. Raymond Felton had 12 points and 5 assists. J.R. Smith had 12 points and 4 rebounds off the bench.
Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 28 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Paul George had 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. David West had 12 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. Roy Hibbert had 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Danny Granger had 11 points and 4 rebounds off the bench. Luis Scola had 10 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Key Notes: Pablo Prigioni is expected to return on Monday against the Brooklyn Nets. Metta World Peace is still out due to an injured knee. Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire both had to leave the game due to a sprained ankle.
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