KNICKS 90 PACERS 80 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
My, oh my, how things have changed since the Knicks suffered a blowout 34-point defeat to the Pacers in late February. New York exacted some revenge on Indiana while securing the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Knicks continued its sprint to the finish line with a 90-80 victory over the Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.
While it wasn’t the prettiest win of the season, the Knicks will certainly take their 15th win 16 outings after defeating another Eastern Conference playoff squad.
For the most part, the Knicks controlled the game with double digit leads throughout the contest. The biggest threat to New York’s chance at win occurred in the beginning stages of the fourth quarter when Indiana knocked the lead down to seven points and Carmelo Anthony went to the bench with a contused shoulder.
Anthony’s crew picked up the slack as Steve Novak buried a long ball, Iman Shumpert found Chris Copeland for a midrange jumper, and J.R. Smith corralled an offensive rebound before drilling a corner shot from downtown. This pivotal 15-7 run over six minutes buried the visiting Pacers in the fourth quarter as New York pushed the lead back to 15 points.
Anthony scored nine points of the Knicks first nine points in the first quarter. He finished with 25 points leading all scorers. Copeland added 20 points off the pine; Smith contributed 15 points and eight boards in the win.
New York found a way to win despite hitting the floor without its big men once again. Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin did not dress and Solomon Jones made his first start of the season. Regardless, the Knicks used their small-ball lineup to their advantage while holding Roy Hibbert to just four points.
The Pacers All-Star, Paul George was also regulated to only nine points on 3-of-12 shooting from the floor. Lance Stephenson registered a team-high with 22 points and David West scored 17.
“We have been playing great basketball. They are a good defensive team so we struggled a little bit offensively but our defense was there tonight.” -- Raymond Felton
Knick of the Night:
Copeland shot 8-of-12 from the floor, scored 20 points in 34 minutes of action. He helped the shorthanded Knicks defend Indiana’s frontline and injected much needed offense for the home squad.
New York forced 26 Indiana turnovers and only committed 12 in the win. The Knicks lead the league in lowest amount of turnovers per game.
The Knicks jumped on plane following the mid-day contest at the Garden. New York will play its final road game of the season tomorrow night in Charlotte against the lottery bound Bobcats.