GAME RECAP: Pacers 123, Knicks 109

The Pacers finish with six scorers in double figures led by Paul George's 19 to beat the Knicks, 123-109.

Postgame 170107

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 123, Knicks 109

The Pacers finish with six scorers in double figures led by Paul George's 19 to beat the Knicks, 123-109.
Jan 6, 2017  |  01:39

Teague to Young for the Alley Oop

Jan. 7, 2017 - Jeff Teague finds Thaddeus Young with the late alley oop to seal the win over the Knicks.
Jan 7, 2017  |  00:08

Postgame Wrap Up: Pacers-Knicks - Jan. 7, 2017

Jan. 7, 2017 - The Pacers clinched their fifth straight win after beating the New York Knicks 123-109 Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Pacers.com's Lauryn Gray breaks down the Blue and Gold's big win.
Jan 7, 2017  |  03:01

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - Jan. 7, 2017

Jan. 7, 2017 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan addresses the media following Indiana's 123-109 win over the New York Knicks on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jan 7, 2017  |  06:09

Seraphin to Turner

Jan. 7, 2017 - Pacers big man Kevin Seraphin shows off his touch, hitting Myles Turner with a behind-the-back pass for the dunk.
Jan 7, 2017  |  00:09

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Jan. 7, 2017

Jan. 7, 2017 - Pacers players CJ Miles, Al Jefferson, and Paul George discussed Indiana's 123-109 win, the team's fifth straight, over the New York Knicks on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jan 7, 2017  |  02:18

Turner's And-1

Jan. 7, 2017 - Myles Turner converts the jumper and draws the foul on Carmelo Anthony.
Jan 7, 2017  |  00:08

PG Lobs to Turner

Jan. 7, 2017 - Paul George finds Myles Turner with the lob for the easy dunk over Courtney Lee.
Jan 7, 2017  |  00:08

1980s Pacers Honored at Halftime

Jan. 7, 2017 - The Pacers honored the Simon family as well as a number of coaches, executives, and players from the 1980s at halftime of the 1980s Decade Game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jan 7, 2017  |  04:56

Robert Mathis Honored at Pacers-Knicks Game

Jan. 7, 2017 - Colts legend Robert Mathis talked with Pacers.com's Lauryn Gray about his retirement plans and if Pacers fans can expect to see him at more games in the future.
Jan 7, 2017  |  01:12

Teague to Miles to Close the Half

Jan. 7, 2017 - With the first half winding down, Jeff Teague dishes to a cutting C.J. Miles for the layup.
Jan 7, 2017  |  00:09

Pacers Move the Rock

Jan. 7, 2017 - Jeff Teague drives and dishes to Myles Turner, who one-times a pass to Thaddeus Young for the layup.
Jan 7, 2017  |  00:06

C.J. with the Fake

Jan. 7, 2017 - Pacers forward C.J. Miles comes up with the steal, then fakes the pass on the fastbreak to create the space for the easy layup.
Jan 7, 2017  |  00:12

Postgame: Knicks Locker Room 170107

Jan. 7, 2017 - Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek and players Kristops Porzingis and Derrick Rose give their thoughts after their loss to the Pacers Saturday night.
Jan 7, 2017  |  01:56

Teague Dime for Jefferson

Jeff Teague whips in the no-look pass to an open Al Jefferson under the basket for the score.
Jan 6, 2017  |  00:15

Teague's Step-Back Three

Jan. 7, 2016 - Pacers point guard Jeff Teague knocks down the step-back 3-pointer to extend Indiana's early lead over the Knicks.
Jan 7, 2017  |  00:11

Pacers Steal and Score

Jan. 7, 2017 - Thaddeus Young strips the ball from Kristaps Porzingis, starting a fastbreak that ends with Paul George finding Young for the layup.
Jan 7, 2017  |  00:07

Ellis' Attitude at the Core of Pacers’ Win Streak

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

The Pacers have averaged 118.6 points during the winning streak that reached five games with Saturday's 123-109 victory over New York, a sudden about-face from the four-game losing streak that preceded it.

Let's extrapolate how it's happened:

1. The ball has been moving better.

2. The ball has been moving better because Jeff Teague has been a master craftsman at point guard. He had 17 assists against Chicago in the first victory of the revival and had 15 against Brooklyn on Thursday. He settled for eight assists against the Knicks, but shared scoring honors with Paul George with 19 points on just seven field goal attempts.

3. Teague has been playing well largely because Glenn Robinson III has been moved to the starting lineup in place of Monta Ellis. Robinson has started the previous 13 games, but didn't hit stride until the winning streak began, coincidentally or not. He's hit 15-of-27 field goal attempts in that stretch but doesn't care about scoring. He's brought improved defense and rebounding to the starting lineup and allowed Teague to have virtually sole control of the offense.

4. And, finally, moving Robinson into the starting lineup has worked because Ellis has accepted a backup role. He hadn't come off the bench since the 2007-08 season with Golden State, but the 12-year NBA veteran, while not exactly celebrating the change, is accepting it and doing all he can to help Robinson.

So, there you have it. Dig far enough, and you could identify Ellis as the root cause of the Pacers' turnaround. He's a quietly intimidating force, one some of his previous coaches seemed afraid to cross. He's also the strongest personality in the Pacers' locker room. If he were inclined, he could easily wreak havoc by objecting to the change, and no doubt convince Pacers coach Nate McMillan the safest option is to leave him in the starting lineup.

When McMillan brought up the idea to him, though, he had a simple response, which he reiterated following Saturday's game when asked how he feels about playing off the bench.

"I'll do whatever it takes to help the team win," he said.

That doesn't mean Ellis prefers it this way. He's accustomed to starting, has pride in starting and doesn't feel all that comfortable with the Pacers' second unit. Having two bigs in that group – Kevin Seraphin and Al Jefferson – limits his driving opportunities, and Aaron Brooks commands some of the ball handling as well.

"But it's been working, so it's cool," he said.

Ellis played Saturday's game with a face mask. He broke his nose when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope head-butted him in the Pacers' win at Detroit last Tuesday. Ellis played Thursday's win over Brooklyn unmasked, but went to a doctor on Friday, missing practice, and was fitted for protection. He finished with nine points in 20 1/2 minutes off the bench.

One shouldn't take that stat lightly. Twenty minutes for him is like a day off. This is a guy who thrives on playing time, blessed with lung capacity or whatever it takes to run all night. Martinsville native Jerry Sichting, the Knicks assistant coach who was an assistant for Golden State one season when Ellis played there, describes him as a guy who would play all day during the summers, and could go 48 with no problem in NBA games.

Ellis led the NBA in minutes played in 2009-10 and the following season, averaging 41.4 and 40.3, respectively. He's 31 now, but still doesn't tire easily. For him, the hardest part of playing off the bench is not playing more.

"But I understand the situation," he said. "Whatever it takes for the win."

Some people might be surprised to hear that kind of talk out of him. It's difficult to say what his reputation was around the league before he came to the Pacers, but it didn't seem to be one of a mental attitude award winner. Ask around, and people say they thought of him as a guy who played hard, played a lot and could score and get steals. Perhaps because he's so quiet and doesn't care for attention from anyone, media included, people have assumed he wasn't a good influence. The fact Golden State, Milwaukee, and Dallas all let him go probably enhanced that reputation.

"Monta had a negative stigma around the league," Paul George said. "I didn't quite understand it. He came here and he's been a mentor for me. He's been a great influence for me, whether he's been hurt or playing. He'll pull me aside and tell me what he sees, what works for him, what he thinks I should do, how defenses are guarding me. He's been a lot of help. He's definitely helped Glenn, he's helped Jeff in situations, he's always on our bigs...I've never understood his stigma.

"Monta has always been heart and soul...giving anything and everything he has for this team. He plays hurt, he'll play a different position, he'll play a different role, he'll play off the bench...nothing really seems to bother him. He's all for this team. You don't meet many in this league who would sacrifice anything for a team."

Ellis is the Pacers' best coach on the floor, the one player who will take a teammate aside and offer advice. McMillan said he's the only who will tell George not to get wrapped up in the officiating. He offers practical advice, too. He worked with Myles Turner on pick-and-rolls in the practice gym over the summer. He grabbed Kevin Seraphin during a timeout in Thursday's win over Brooklyn and, out on the court, gave a quick tutorial on blitzing to the basket. He's in Robinson's ear constantly, giving him tips such as to play off Dwyane Wade when Wade posted up, so Wade couldn't feel him and spin to the basket.

"The young guys gotta learn," he said. "Some guys get down when guys make tough shots, but you just gotta let 'em know, guys are going to make shots. There aren't too many people stopping people on every play, but there's tendencies they have and there's a way to play them.

"I've guarded all the guys they have to guard, and played against the guys guarding them as well. I just try to use my experience to get an imprint on what they're facing."

Ellis sits next to the coaches on the bench, even when injured and in street clothes. He asks questions of the coaches, and relays that information to his teammates. He's the first player to stick his head in a huddle and offer advice, encouragement or admonishment, during timeouts. Assistant coach Dan Burke says the Pacers are beginning to become a player-coached team, which always is the ideal scenario, and that Ellis has been the instigator of that.

So, Ellis probably would like to coach someday, right?

"Nope," he said, laughing. "Nah. Nah."

No interest, huh?

"No sir."

At this stage of his career, he just wants one thing. He's never won big in the NBA, having just five playoff appearances and reaching the second round only once. He knows time is running out, and he doesn't plan to interfere with this opportunity.

"We're doing great," he said. "We're playing together, playing for one another. We just have to keep it up. Keep climbing, keep chipping away and win the games we need to win and find a way to win the games that are tough."


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