When the group featuring Danny Granger at power forward, Lou Amundson at center and George Hill, Leandro Barbosa and Paul George on the perimeter was deployed early in the fourth quarter, the game turned immediately and completely.
Granger scored 11 of his 27 points in a devastating 27-4 run that turned a 15-point deficit into an eight-point lead and the Pacers held on for a rollicking, reminiscent 112-104 victory over the Knicks before 17,042 Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
After the Pacers took a 101-93 lead with 2:47 remaining, they had to withstand one more assault from Carmelo Anthony, who scored eight in a row as the Knicks closed to 103-101 but his final two attempts rimmed out and Indiana survived.
Indiana improved to 32-21 with the victory, while the Knicks dropped to 27-27.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger made all four of his shots in the fourth quarter, three from the 3-point line, and added seven rebounds to his 27-point night. Paul George scored 12 of his 18 in the final period, adding eight rebounds and three steals. Leandro Barbosa and Dahntay Jones scored 12 apiece off the bench and Roy Hibbert 10. The Pacers shot 48 percent overall and committed just nine turnovers.
Anthony led the Knicks with 39 on 17 of 31 shooting, adding 10 rebounds. Landry Fields scored 15, Tyson Chandler 12 with 14 rebounds and J.R. Smith 11 before being ejected in the closing seconds. New York shot 46 percent overall but was 7-of-20 in the fourth quarter, when the Knicks committed five of their 13 turnovers.
"Very, very proud of how they just didn’t quit on the game. It was a contrast of styles, them playing a spread lineup and our power-post game. We wanted to try to pound it and impose our will on them and we tried that for three quarters and it wasn't working. We were down big so we made an adjustment and tried to go with our small lineup, which we don’t typically do but we have a history of playing Danny at power forward so he's comfortable there and, man, did they respond." - Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"(Granger) was dominant on both ends. He was bombing threes, red-hot, and he really manned-up and guarded Carmelo at a very high level." - Vogel
"It was ironic he was elected to the Hall of Fame (Monday). From one shooter to another, my tribute to Reggie Miller." - Granger
"A player like Carmelo it's hard to stop him completely. I just wanted to make his shots as difficult as possible. Even the ones he made, just make them tough shots and hope he misses some. He had 39 points but we got the win." - Granger
"I think our chemistry in that unit at that moment tonight, we just felt like we were clicking on all cylinders. We came back in here after the game and we were fired-up to keep playing, it just felt so good with that group." - George
STAT OF THE GAME
After not doing so in the first 44 games, the Pacers have overcome double-digit fourth-quarter deficits two games in a row and three times in the last two weeks. They trailed Washington by 11 in the fourth quarter of an 85-83 win; trailed Houston by 10 in the fourth quarter of a 104-102 overtime win; and trailed the Knicks by 15.
When the Pacers went to a small lineup early in the fourth quarter, suddenly, they were the aggressors at both ends and Granger was doing for Indiana what Anthony had been doing for New York up to that point. Trailing 89-74 with 11:19 remaining, the Pacers put together a remarkable 20-2 run with Granger scoring 11 -- including consecutive 3-pointers that tied it and then gave Indiana a 94-91 lead with 5:45 remaining. The run grew to 27-4 and the lead to 101-93 after George scored seven in a row, five at the free throw line.
Amundson played a major role, pulling all five of his offensive rebounds in the period and serving as the distributor in the middle of the pick-and-roll offense. George also was huge, scoring 11 of the Pacers' final 16 points.
With Leandro Barbosa providing the spark off the bench, the Pacers took a 40-33 lead with a 9-2 run early in the second quarter, but Anthony took over, scoring 10 in a 19-4 run spanning the break as the Knicks took a 63-51 lead early in the third period. With Hibbert finding some rhythm inside, the Pacers closed to six twice in the period but whenever threatened the Knicks just turned to Anthony, and he delivered two buckets to spark a 13-2 run that pushed New York's lead to 87-70 late in the period.
New York's J.R. Smith was ejected with a type 2 flagrant foul with 10.7 seconds remaining for throwing Barbosa to the floor after the two tangled while battling for rebound position. … Knicks rookie Imam Shumpert was hit with a flagrant foul for under-cutting West from behind in transition midway through the third quarter. … The Pacers wore their bright yellow uniforms for the second game this season, first at home. … With starters Jeremy Lin (knee) and Amar'e Stoudemire (back) out, the Knicks started a spread lineup with Anthony at power forward. Baron Davis started at the point. … New York also was without reserves Jared Jeffries (knee) and Bill Walker (elbow). … Hill shed the brace he has worn since sustaining a sprained left shoulder March 6.
The Pacers travel to Washington to close out the season series with the pesky Wizards (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). Indiana has pulled out two narrow wins, rallying from a 22-point deficit to excape 85-83 on March 22, and holding one for a 93-89 decision March 29.