Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM ET at Madison Square Garden
Game Rewind: Pacers 86, Knicks 92
Scott Agness | March 19
The Pacers looked forward to playing on the big stage of Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, and in front of the national audience. Entering the game, they had won four straight but were still working to get back to playing their best basketball.
Yet again they fell behind in the first quarter and trailed for the majority of the game, but this time they weren’t able to successfully complete the comeback. The New York Knicks (28-40) held off a fourth-quarter charge by the Pacers (50-18) for their seventh consecutive victory, 92-86 the final in this one.
Both offenses struggled in the opening quarter. The Pacers settled for too many looks on the perimeter and turned the ball over six times. Despite shooting just 32% and missing their final seven shots in the quarter, they were only down seven to the Knicks, who were held to a 24 percent clip but made 9-of-10 foul shots.
The Knicks maintained control in the second and their lead grew to as large as 16 via a 16-2 run, including 12 unanswered. Indiana’s offense lacked any kind of rhythm and movement, and individuals tried to do too much on their own. Perhaps part of that was because its two big men, Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi, were bothered by three fouls each. Indiana had just two assists on 14 first-half field goals — plus 11 turnovers. And although New York missed all but one 3-point attempt, they were +8 on the glass and tallied 12 second-chance points.
Early in the third period, the Pacers used a 9-0 spurt, capped off by a layup from Lance Stephenson, who led the team with 21 points. The quarter, however, belonged to Roy Hibbert. The Big Dawg later scored on four consecutive possessions, hitting short-range jumpers and his four free throws for 14 points alone. The Pacers didn’t turn it over and outscored the Knicks by seven to cut their deficit to five, 67-62.
Indiana got within one point less than two minutes into the fourth frame by connecting on their first two shots. But then they went back to their old ways, and launched up a 3-pointer, where they were 5-of-23 on the night, on three consecutive possessions. Meanwhile, the Knicks ran off eight points in a row.
Later, Stephenson sank a triple and then got the ball after a miss by Raymond Felton but instead of making a simple pass to George Hill in the corner, he used a no-look one-handed pass and it went out of bounds with 84 seconds left. After not turning it over in the first 22 minutes of the second half, they turned it over on back-to-back critical possessions ultimately deciding the game.
With a loss, the Pacers missed another opportunity to add to their lead on the Miami Heat, who lost in Boston on Wednesday. And they need to clean things up in a hurry, with their next five games against playoff teams, including two meetings with division rival Chicago.
Inside the Numbers
Facing his hometown team, Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 21 points and nine rebounds. Roy Hibbert was 8-for-10 from the field and had 20 points and in the process, he surpassed the 5,000 career-point mark. The Pacers drop to 7-2 when Hibbert scores 20 or more points. Paul George, who had 17, missed 10 of his first 11 shots and was just 4-for-17 on the night, including 2-of-9 from downtown.
Carmelo Anthony topped the 30-point mark for the 21st time this season, scoring a game-high 34 points – 10 coming at the foul line. Amar’e Stoudemire, who was limited to a single-digit point total the last three regular season meetings over the last two years, tallied 21. Center Tyson Chandler grabbed 14 rebounds and added seven points.
In their six wins entering this one, the Knicks averaged 114.5 points per game — at least 107 points in each game — and 51 percent shooting. The Pacers held them to 92 points and a 39 percent mark, which typically would be good enough for a win if their offense were on track.
In the second half, the Pacers didn’t allow any second-chance points or points in transition, and had only two turnovers — though both were at critical points late.
Neither team was accurate from long distance. The Pacers were 5-for-23 and the Knicks made 4-of-17 attempts.
“We had a poor shooting night and a poor offensive execution night. We’re getting better but tonight, for whatever reason, we slipped in our screening and our setup and we’re unable to create separation.” – Frank Vogel
“We have to play for each other. We talk about it, but don’t do it. We have to figure out a way to do that. Until we do, we’ll beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones.” – Roy Hibbert
“The way this team’s scheme is, it’s just a different defense. They switch almost everything on the floor. They take you out of stuff and we haven’t grown our IQ as a team into improvising when teams try to throw in little wrenches in our offense. That is where we have to grow offensively.” – Paul George
“This is one of my top five worst shooting nights. I’ve got to do a better job of making sure I’m ready to go and finish plays for us.” – Paul George
“Tonight was definitely a lot of one-on-one. We only had two assists in the first half. That’s not Pacers basketball. We play together as a unit. I understand we were trying to set screens and they were going under but we still have to play together, make the right play and make sure everybody is happy on the floor.” – Lance Stephenson
Stat of the Game
In 12 of their 18 losses, the Pacers have attempted fewer free throws than their opponents. Tonight, New York had 29 foul shots to Indiana’s 27, and they scored five more points at the line.
- After winning their first five games on Wednesday’s, the Pacers have dropped their last eight.
- Carmelo Anthony was charged with a technical foul in the third quarter.
- New Knicks president Phil Jackson received a standing ovation from fans at the Garden.
- Pacers center Andrew Bynum (right knee soreness) didn’t make the trip and C.J. Watson (hamstring) sat out for the third game in a row. Knicks forward Kenyon Martin missed his 24th straight game due to a sprained ankle.
Friday, March 21 vs Chicago – 7 p.m. EST
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