81
76

Thursday, January 10th at 8:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Rewind: IND 81, NYK 76

by Scott Agness | January 11, 2013 at 12:50 AM

Game Rewind

The Pacers faced a daunting test this week, hosting the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. Instilling their "smash mouth defense," as Pacers head coach Frank Vogel likes to call it, they made their case to be among the leaders of the East. In front of a national audience on Thursday, the Pacers topped the New York Knicks, 81-76.

Watch: Paul George Steal and Slam »

Offense didn’t come easy for either team all game. The Pacers got off to a particularly slow start and fell behind by seven after missing 10 of their first 13 shots. They then used a 12-1 run to take the lead after one quarter of play, despite shooting just 26 percent. Paul George missed all five of his shots and went scoreless in the quarter, but his points would come.

Vogel had to go to his bench and he called on reserve center Jeff Pendergraph in the second quarter after Ian Mahinmi picked up his second foul and while Roy Hibbert dealt with back spasms – that he first felt during the opening timeout – in the locker room. Pendergraph only played in the second quarter but filled in nicely, registering a season-high six points in his most minutes of the year (nine). The Pacers held the Knicks to their lowest output in a half (34 points) and were up 39-34 at the break.

George found his groove in the third quarter, as was the case in multiple previous games. He had nine of his team-high 24 points and put the Pacers up as many as 11 after three straight buckets. After taking a timeout, New York came out motivated going on a 13-3 spurt and eventually taking their first lead since the opening quarter.

What They're Saying: Pacers-Knicks »

The Pacers staunch defense, which has become a point of pride, was especially visible in the final period. Knicks center Tyson Chandler hit an easy shot around the rim on New York's first possession, but then the Pacers dug deep. George and Mahinmi keyed a 21-4 run, including 13 in a row, while the Knicks missed 11 consecutive shots and didn’t score for over seven minutes.

Back-to-back three-pointers from J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd made it a seven point game with just over a minute to go, but the Pacers held them off for the five-point victory.

Coach Vogel stressed the importance of winning at home before the season tipped. The Pacers have now disposed of the Miami Heat and the Knicks in back-to-back home games, giving them nine straight home wins, their best since 14 in a row during the 2002-03 season.

More Rewind After the Reggie Videos

Inside the Numbers

Paul George started the game 1-for-8 but made nine of his next 16 shots and finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, a career-high six steals and five assists in leading the Pacers to victory. Ian Mahinmi stepped up big and with 13 points - one point shy of his season-high.

J.R. Smith scored a game-high 25 points and dished out six assists. Tyson Chandler registered 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Indiana – the NBA’s top defensive team – held their third straight opponent to 80 points or fewer and held a team to a season-low output for the second game in a row. The Knicks scored 76 points.

The Pacers outscored the Knicks 10-0 on the fast break, marking the first time this season their opponent has failed to score in transition.

Quoteworthy

“That’s Eastern Conference basketball for you. A heck of win by our guys really led by Paul George, who is just blossoming in front of our eyes with special performance after special performance after special performance. If he’s not the best wing defender in the NBA, I don’t know who is. He’s a blanketing defender and…is leading our defense, which is becoming a beast and our guys are embracing that identity.” – Frank Vogel

“That’s what we do. We knew they lacked rebounding so David (West), myself and Ian (Mahinmi) just make sure we try to limit their second shots and try to create extra possessions for ourselves at the other end.” – Roy Hibbert on the rebounding advantage

“Paul George was sensational, carrying us for a large stretch of the game offensively…He’s a young kid, a third-year player, and he’s really blossoming in front of our eyes.” – Frank Vogel on Paul George

“He made some big time plays late in the game…He battled on the defensive end to contest shots and to rebound so it was a great performance.” – Frank Vogel on Ian Mahinmi

“It was tough. I felt like I got a lot of good looks early on, I just couldn’t knock them down. I came out in the second half and was able to get some easy baskets – a couple of steals, a couple of transition baskets – and that really got me going.” – Paul George on overcoming his early shooting struggles tonight

“I’ve got to give credit to my teammates. They really find me and my sweet-spots and I was able to knock it down tonight. After (the Knicks) made their run, we were able to refocus and get some stops down the stretch and we came out on top.” – Ian Mahinmi

Stat of the Game

The Knicks average more than 11 made three-point field goals per game but went just 4-of-20 from beyond the arc.

Noteworthy

  • Lance Stephenson and J.R. Smith were each assessed a technical foul on the same play and Tyson Chandler received a technical foul with less than four minutes left in the game.
  • Sam Young was released by the Pacers last week after he suffered a severe ankle sprain, but expect him back as soon as he’s healthy. “I think there's a good chance, yes,” Vogel said before the game. Dominic McGuire was signed to a 10-day contract to fill Young’s spot, providing a wing defender if needed.
  • Reggie Miller served as game analyst for the TNT broadcast.
  • Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and Fever guards Katie Douglas and Jeanette Pohlen were among those at tonight’s game.
  • The Pacers wore their gold uniforms.

Up Next

The Pacers close out a four-game home stand against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday at 7 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Buy Tickets »

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