The timing couldn't have been worse for consecutive games against New York.
Energized by a coaching change, the Knicks continued their strongest stretch of the season with a 102-88 victory over the Pacers, giving them a sweep of the weekend back-to-back. The Pacers lost 115-100 in New York Friday night.
Jeremy Lin scored 19, including nine in a decisive 17-4 run in the fourth quarter after the Pacers had cut the deficit to a single point. New York (21-24) improved to 3-0 under Coach Mike Woodson, with all of the victories coming by double digits.
Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 24 points and 12 rebounds, his best game since the All-Star break, but it wasn't enough as Indiana fell to 25-18 overall, 13-6 at home.
BY THE NUMBERS
Hibbert made 8-of-13 shots and blocked two. Paul George had 18 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Darren Collison scored 15 and Danny Granger 11 -- just three after the first quarter -- for the Pacers, who shot 40 percent overall but were 4-of-19 from the 3-point line.
Lin had seven rebounds and six assists for the Knicks, who shot 42 percent and outscored the Pacers 31-20 from the free-throw line. Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire scored 16 each and J.R. Smith 11 for the Knicks, who enjoyed a 34-17 advantage in bench scoring.
"They played another solid game. I thought our guys played with a lot more fight than they did last night. We closed the gap but couldn’t get over the hump. Guys were just a little out of synch." - Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"The NBA season is a marathon with ups and downs. We came into this stretch knowing it was going to be a tough stretch." - Vogel
"Our offense just isn’t working. We’re not getting the job done. Our goal is to win games and we’re not going to win games this way. I don’t have an answer. All we have to do is to play and try to play through it." - Granger
"We are falling back into a small slump that we had earlier in the season. We’re not closing games out. We’re not helping out and we’re not winning. We know we must improve on all of these and having a day off tomorrow will certainly help. We’ve got to get out of this slump and just get moving." - George
"They made shots when they had to. They played with intensity and we know that they have superstars on their team. This is the NBA. You could win two and lose two in a bat of an eye. We just have to collect ourselves and move on. We know what we can do. We’ve been there." - George Hill
STAT OF THE GAME
The Pacers shot 4-of-17 in the fourth quarter with four turnovers and scored just one basket in a span of more than eight minutes as the Knicks stretched a one-point lead to 15.
The Pacers were much more effective offensively than Friday night but the defense continued to struggle in the first half. Though Indiana shot 49 percent and scored 51 points, the Knicks held a nine-point lead at the break thanks to a 60-point half.
An eight-point run midway through the first quarter put the Pacers up 24-17 but the Knicks seized momentum behind their bench in the second period. With reserves scoring the first 11 while the Pacers missed six shots in a row, the Knicks put together a 20-4 run to take their biggest lead of the half, 53-41.
New York held advantages of 24-11 in bench scoring and 14-8 from the free-throw line.
With George providing the impetus, the defense made a stand in the third quarter, holding the Knicks to 3-of-13 shooting and forcing six turnovers as the Pacers chipped into the lead. Down by double figures midway through the period, the Pacers desperately needed a spark and it came from George, who hit a 3-pointer, then locked up Anthony to force a turnover. That led to a three from Hill and the fire was stoked.
Hibbert converted consecutive three-point plays, drawing a fourth foul from Tyson Chandler in the process, and the Pacers had a 14-2 run that cut the deficit to 72-70.
A.J. Price's layup closed it to 77-76 early in the fourth but that was as close as Indiana would get. The Knicks answered with a 17-4 run, with Lin scoring nine, to put it out of reach, while the Pacers made just one bucket in eight minutes.
Vogel picked up his third technical foul of the season for vociferously protesting a no-call against Chandler on a Hibbert post-up in the fourth quarter. … Hill was hit with his second T of the year a few minutes later for a relatively mild objection to a foul call. … Leandro Barbosa was in the house but not in uniform. The newly acquired bench scorer will go through orientation with the coaching staff Sunday, practice Monday and make his debut Tuesday when the Pacers play host to the Clippers. … The Knicks were without backup point guard Baron Davis, who sustained a strained groin in Friday's victory in New York. … This was the Pacers' fourth sellout of the season. … Jeff Foster missed his eighth straight and 32nd game overall with a sore back.
Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the L.A. Clippers make their only appearance of the season in Bankers Life Fieldhouse Tuesday (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). The Clippers are challenging the Lakers for supremacy in the Pacific Division.