By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
PACERS 117, KNICKS 89 | BANKER'S LIFE FIELDHOUSE
How it Happened:
After the Knicks' 28-point loss at Banker's Life Fieldhouse, Mike Woodson called the Indiana Pacers "the best team in the NBA." They played like it tonight, improving to 31-7 with a dominant performance on both ends of the floor.
Indiana actually took the first punch, an 18-point explosion from Carmelo Anthony in the 1st quarter. It didn't matter who was on him, Melo was locked in early, scoring nine points 4 of 5 shooting before first timeout. He even closed out the quarter with a three at the buzzer to give the Knicks a 31-30 lead.
But Indiana made the Knicks' scorer work hard for his looks with its length and help defense. Then Pacers began to wear the Knicks down with their offensive execution.
As a team they finished shooting 50% from the floor, 43% from three and 91% free throw line. Their starting wing combination of Lance Stephenson and Paul George combined to score 53 points. At halftime, Knicks assistant coach Jim Todd pointed out the Pacers' advantage in the paint, and Indiana went on to outscore New York 40-22 in that area.
Late in the game, Amar'e Stoudemire went down with an ankle injury and Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a left wrist injuryortunately, but fortunately X-rays for both were negative.
One of the bright spots was Tyson Chandler, who continued to work his way back, playing 26 minutes tonight and giving the Knicks 13 points and nine rebounds.
Knick of the Night:
Melo was the only Knick able to play on the Pacers' level from start to finish. His 28 points on 17 shots were hard-earned, and he continued to make an impact on the glass with another seven boards tonight.
It's right back to work as Blake Griffin and the Clippers come to Madison Square Garden for Friday Night Knicks.