PACERS 93 KNICKS 82 GAME 4 | BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE
How it happened:
A variety of storylines developed in-between Games 3 and 4 as J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin battled illness and Iman Shumpert fought through a sore knee. Additionally, head coach Mike Woodson decided to feature a big starting lineup to counter the massive frontline for the Pacers prior to Game 4.
The end result was not exactly what the Knicks desired as the road team suffered a 93-82 defeat and will now face a severe uphill battle trailing Indiana 3-1 with the series moving back to New York.
Woodson placed Kenyon Martin at the 4-spot next to Tyson Chandler at the center position. This move shifted Carmelo Anthony to small forward and Pablo Prigioni was sent to the bench. Indiana seemed to have no issues facing the new-look group from the Knicks. The Pacers jumped out to an 11-3 lead while New York struggled from the floor, only hitting 1-of-11 in the first five minutes of the first quarter.
The Knicks weathered the storm and rattled off an 11-3 run of their own to even the game at 14-14. However, Indiana quickly answered on a 9-2 spurt to close the quarter strong and build a seven-point advantage heading into the second period.
Despite 16 first half points from Anthony, New York’s double teams opened space for the Pacers perimeter shooters. Indiana hit 5-of-13 from deep range while Paul George scored 12 points to provide the Pacers with a 48-34 halftime lead.
Trailing by 18 points midway through the third quarter, Woodson sent Chris Copeland into the game to potentially generate some offense. When Copeland entered the contest, the Knicks only had 43 points and J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd, and Iman Shumpert were struggling mightily from the field.
New York cut the lead to 11 at the end of the third quarter and with a little more than two minutes in the game. Unfortunately, the comeback comeback was spoiled when Smith's 3-point attempt hit back iron late in the final stanza.
Once again, the Pacers suffocating defense helped control the tempo of the game. The Knicks shot 35.6 percent from the floor and just 28.6 percent behind the arc. Anthony scored a team-high 24 points, Smith’s 19 mostly came during the late stages, and Raymond Felton finished with 14 in the defeat.
From an offensive standpoint, Indiana received a huge boost from George Hill when he scored 14 of his game-high 26 points in the third frame. George chipped in 18 points and hauled down an impressive 14 boards to propel Indiana to its second straight win of the series.
Knick of the Night:
Anthony scored 24 points on 9-of-23 shooting, which included two shots from downtown. He snatched nine rebounds and registered a block and a steal in the losing effort.
The rebounding disparity was a huge factor in Game 4. Indiana outrebounded New York 54-36 and 16-11 on the offensive glass. The Pacers were able to score 19 second chance points from their work on the offensive boards. Another key statistic to examine was the 36 points in the paint for the home squad, which obviously damaged the Knicks defensive unit.
The Knicks will face elimination on Thursday night at 8 PM. Down 3-1, New York will have the opportunity to send the series back to Indiana if it can secure a win in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd.