T.J. McConnell
(NBAE/Getty Images)

Game Rewind: Pacers 117, Knicks 121 (Game 1)

Monday, May 6 at 7:30 PM ET at Madison Square Garden

Game Recap: Knicks 121, Pacers 117

Game Recap

If Game 1 served as any indication, the 2024 Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup between the sixth-seeded Indiana Pacers and No. 2 New York Knicks could prove to be another classic series.

After a tight 36 minutes, the Knicks dropped 39 points in the fourth quarter — while coming with some clutch late-game moments — to post a 121-117 win over the Pacers on Monday at Madison Square Garden. Game 2 will occur in New York on Wednesday before the series turns to Indianapolis for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday.

In Game 1, which featured 12 ties and eight lead changes, the Pacers trailed by three points after the first quarter, led by six at the half, and took a five-point advantage into the final frame.

The Knicks retook the lead with under three minutes left in the game, but the Pacers kept it close down the final stretch.

New York guard Donte DiVincenzo hit a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to make it 118-115 Knicks before Indiana's Pascal Siakam scored a close-range bucket to cut it to one point with 27 seconds left.

Indiana then got the ball back by forcing a Jalen Brunson turnover, but on the next possession Pacers center Myles Turner was called for an offensive foul on a screen with 12 seconds left.

In the final ticks, Brunson made a trio of free throws and the Knicks got a defensive stop to clinch it.

“There are so many events in an NBA game. There’s always a sharp focus on the last minute, but there were things that happened with five or six minutes left that really hurt us,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “ …It’s not just the last minute or two, it’s the whole game. The whole fourth quarter. This is a great experience for our guys. It comes at a cost – it’s no fun, but we’re going to have to learn some things for Game 2.”

Indiana’s bench outscored New York’s second unit 46-3 in the game. Six Pacers players scored in double digits, as Turner topped the Pacers with 23 points, Siakam added 19, and T.J. McConnell supplied 18 off the bench for the Blue & Gold.

Brunson, who entered the night leading all scorers in the postseason at 35.5 points per game, finished with 43 points on 14-for-26 shooting (14-for-14 from the free throw line), DiVincenzo logged 25 points, and Josh Hart recorded 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Overall, the Pacers shot 52.3 percent and the Knicks made 52.3 percent of their shots. New York won the rebounding margin 40-32.

The Pacers led 55-49 at halftime, as the Blue & Gold bench outscored the Knicks’ second unit 27-1 in the opening 24 minutes.

All nine players who played for the Pacers in the first half recorded a basket, led by McConnell's 10 points off the bench and nine points from Turner. Brunson had 18 points for the Knicks on 6-for-12 shooting and Hart logged 11 points and seven rebounds at the break.

Indiana shot just 37.5 percent in the first quarter, but limited New York’s lead to 27-24 thanks to a late push by the bench unit.

Despite an early 8-0 run by the Pacers, where Tyrese Haliburton and Andrew Nembhard each made 3-pointers, Brunson dropped 10 points in the first four and a half minutes of the game to help the Knicks to a 14-10 lead.

After Pacers forward Obi Toppin's 3-pointer halted a 10-2 Knicks run, Hart hit a trey and went the length of the floor for a layup to put New York ahead 19-13, prompting a timeout by the visitors.

In the final 3:39 of the opening frame, the Pacers’ bench scored 11 points, with McConnell making a trio of baskets, rookie Ben Sheppard draining a 3-pointer, and Isaiah Jackson throwing down a transition dunk to make it a three-point game.

Indiana shot 53.8 percent in the second quarter, with Turner scoring nine points in the period on 4-for-6 shooting, to take a 55-49 lead into intermission.

A 3-pointer by Sheppard, two layups from Jackson, and a running layup by McConnell gave the Pacers a 33-32 lead before three straight baskets from Turner pushed the Pacers in front 40-36 with 5:41 on the clock.

Indiana and New York then kept the score within a possession until the Pacers mustered a 9-3 run in the final 1:58 to take a four-point lead into the break.

Both sides exchanged dramatic deep shots in the final ticks, as Haliburton hit a 3-pointer with 3 seconds on the clock before Knicks 7-footer Isaiah Hartenstein swished nothing but net at the buzzer from half-court to end the Blue & Gold run.

Turner added 13 points in the third quarter, and the Pacers shot 61.9 percent as a team in the frame, to lead 87-82 by the end of the period.

The Pacers and Knicks traded blows early in the third quarter until an 8-2 run by the Knicks evened the score at 62 with 8:18 on the clock.

Neither team could go ahead by more than four points over the next five minutes until the Pacers mustered a 16-4 run — where five players recorded a basket — to go up 84-77 with 43 seconds on the clock.

DiVincenzo hit a 3-pointer and made a layup to cut it to two points before Turner drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pacers a five-point advantage going into the final 12 minutes.

In the fourth quarter, the Knicks shot 65 percent from the field to outscore the Pacers 39-30. Brunson went 6-for-10 in the period for 21 points.

The Pacers opened the fourth quarter on a 7-3 run thanks to free throws by Siakam, a 3-pointer by Toppin and basket by McConnell to lead 94-85, but the Knicks answered with an 8-0 spree — capped by a DiVincenzo 3-pointer — to cut it to 94-93 with 8:56 left in the half.

A dunk by Jackson stopped the Blue & Gold bleeding before Aaron Nesmith threw down a posterizing dunk over Knicks 7-footer Mitchell Robinson, and then completed a layup, to go back in at 100-95 with 7:43 left on the clock.

Back-to-back baskets by Hart cut it to 104-103 with 5:52 left before the Knicks went on a 9-0 run, with Brunson accounting for seven points, to take a 113-109 lead with 2:42 left in the game.

Down the last stretch, the Knicks made enough plays to secure the victory.

“We take it on the chin and get ready for Game 2,” Turner of the loss. “The best thing about this is we play every other day.”

Inside the Numbers

Indiana went 15-for-19 from the free throw line and New York finished 22-for-26.

Pacers All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton had six points on six shot attempts in Game 1.

In the paint, the Pacers outscored the Knicks 64-58.

Neither team led by double digits in the game.

The Knicks finished with 14 turnovers and the Pacers had seven.

New York made 11 3-pointers and Indiana had 10 threes.

The Pacers were outscored 20-18 in fastbreak points.

Indiana Pacers Postgame Media Availability at New York Knicks (Game 1) | May 6, 2024

You Can Quote Me On That

“The boards were a big problem in the second half. Fouls were a problem in the second half. We allowed (the Knicks) to score with the clock stopped, didn’t do a good job with possession, and we had turnovers as well. Those are pretty big factors. We did a lot of good things throughout the game, but this is one we’re going to have to learn from.” – Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle on the second half and the loss

“We’re not expecting to get calls in here. It would be nice if they laid off that one, but they didn’t. That’s just the way it goes. We challenged it, they reviewed it. They’ve got a bunch of people in New Jersey that agreed with them. That's just the way it goes. We just have to learn from that, too. That’s a timing play … both guys were involved. We will just have to execute that better next time.” – Carlisle on the foul called on Turner with 12 seconds left

“This is New York’s pattern. As the game goes on, they get stronger with rebounding and they crash harder and harder. We talked about it coming in. It’s something that is a major factor. We had opportunities to come up with balls we didn't come up with. In a game when it’s a one-possession game, it makes a difference.” – Carlisle on New York in the second half

“We know they are a hard-playing team. I think in the first half we did a good job controlling the boards but that got away from us in the second half. You give those guys opportunities to score, they’re going to take advantage of it. On the defensive glass, we have to be a lot better down the stretch.” – Myles Turner on the loss

“We knew they were coming in charged up. It’s a staple of the way they play.“ – Turner on the rebounding in the second half

“We have to make life a little more difficult on him. He’s a special player -  he plays angles very well. I think just throwing fresh angles at him. We know he’s going to score his points when he’s shooting 25 or 30 times per game. We know he’s going to get to his shots. I think it’s more so about limiting their other role players. Someone like Josh Hart who had a great game tonight and really juiced them up. DiVincenzo hits some big shots at the end. It’s one of those things you have to tip your cap to Brunson and do your job on the other guys.” –  Turner on what Indiana can do better on Brunson

“The rebounding really hurt us. It gave them extra possessions. DiVincenzo got hot from three. As a collective, we have to be better rebounding the ball on defense. That’s been a focal point for us. We know they’re a great rebounding team. We’ll get that fixed.” - T.J. McConnell on what caused problems defensively in the second half

“I’m sure they addressed it in the locker room at halftime. We knew that we did a good job on the glass and they came out and just had more effort on that part of the ball. We’ve just got to get that fixed.” -McConnell on why rebounding was an issue after halftime

“We can’t worry about the officiating. They’re just trying to do their job. There were many plays where we could have made where it didn’t even come down to that. That’s the stuff we’ve got to focus on…We can control plays that we could have made to not have it come down to that.” - McConnell on late-game calls

“I think he’s been a focal point for everyone’s defensive game plan all year. There hasn’t been a game where I’ve seen a team in drop coverage. He gets trapped every time he comes off the pick-and-roll. The best thing about Tyrese is he won’t force a bad shot. He gets others involved and we trust him whole-heartedly with the ball in his hands every time.” - McConnell on how the Knicks defended Tyrese Haliburton

Stat of the Night

After Indiana won the rebounding margin 24-21 in the first half, the Pacers lost the battle on the boards 19-8 in the second half.

Noteworthy

  • Indiana forward Pascal Siakam is two points short of reaching 1,000 career playoff points.
  • The Pacers are playing in their first Eastern Conference Semifinals since 2014.
  • Indiana and New York are playing their eighth ever playoff series against each other. The Pacers have won four of their seven series thus far against the Knicks all-time, including their last two (2000, 2013).
  • Indiana owns a 22-20 postseason record against New York.
  • The Pacers dropped Game 1 in their first round series against Milwaukee before taking the series 4-2.

Up Next

The Pacers will return to Madison Square Garden for Game 2 against the Knicks on Wednesday, May 8 at 8:00 PM ET.

Tickets

The Pacers will host the Knicks for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 7:00 PM on Friday, May 10. Find Tickets >>