Knicks amp up their defense to knock off East-leading Pacers

Sam Spiegelman

The New York Knicks’ offense was not at its best. Then again, it didn’t have to be.

The Knicks (28-40) overcame a poor shooting performance with a dominant defensive effort against the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers in a 92-86 victory Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks shot just 39 percent from the floor, including less than 25 percent from beyond the arc, but stymied Paul George and took the Pacers (50-18) out of their element in the paint to extend the season-high win streak to seven.

Finally, the Knicks are playing how they expected to all season long.

“Everybody made plays down the stretch. Everybody contributed,” Raymond Felton said, who scored 11 points, dished out six assists and had six boards. “It’s going great — kind of the way we were hoping it would go all season.”

In the first game since Phil Jackson was officially named team president, Carmelo Anthony proved just how valuable he can be for the franchise moving forward. Playing like it was postseason battle, ‘Melo scored a game-high 34 points and shot 52 percent from the floor.

He received help from Amar’e Stoudemire, whose jump shot translated to 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Tyson Chandler not only shined defensively against Pacers center Roy Hibbert, but led all players with 14 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.

“This stretch is the best (Anthony and Stoudemire) have been playing together,” J.R. Smith said of his teammates. “They’ve been unbelievable.”

“Amar’e is able to play minutes now,” Coach Mike Woodson said in reference to Stoudemire’s 29 minutes Wednesday. “His stats are off the chain.”

Indiana’s leading scorer Paul George was a non-factor in this contest. He could not stop Anthony and didn’t contribute offensively. George finished 4-of-17 from the field with 17 points, but his final six points came on a meaningless 3-pointer and free throws with the game already in the books.

Hibbert led the Pacers with 20 points, but overall the team was limited to 38 points in the paint. The bench combined to score 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting, and overall the team shot 42.5 percent from the floor, including a 21.7 percent mark from beyond the arc.

“I have to give a lot of credit to those guys in the locker room. We’re battling,” Woodson said. “Our defense was a lot better.”

With the win, New York cuts to within four games of the Atlanta Hawks — who have won five in a row — for the No. 8 seed in the conference. The Charlotte Bobcats, who sit a .5 game ahead of Atlanta in the 7-spot, lost to the Brooklyn Nets. Like the Knicks, the Hawks are back in action on Friday night.

The Knicks’ seventh consecutive win is the longest current streak in the Eastern Conference, and lucky enough for the team their next opponent comes in the form of the Philadelphia 76ers, losers of 22 in a row.




25 comments
tw22
tw22

Does anyone else think this is playing out like 2000. Bunch of ne'er do wells for 3/4 of the season and then sneaking into an 8th seed and making noise? The Heat and the Pacers are the class of the conference but everyone else is beatable.

What's interesting is the way we look at both the Pacers and the Heat. If the Heat play poorly we just figure they know when to turn it on, and they do. We don't know that the Pacers aren't self destructing in front of our eyes. How far are we out of that 7 spot?

Ray Jorge
Ray Jorge

Good Morning, true Knick fans! I'm grateful that we didn't spoil Phil's first day on the job & won last nights game. I would of hated to hear all the ESPN morons spewing their hate on how we need Phil to coach instead of a Prez, & how this is a "Money Grab"! Also I know it's only one game & were all allowed to have bad games but Paul George is not in the Melo  Wade(healthy) Durant Lebron class period! IMO he's in the bottom 2nd star tier players Griffin Westbrook CP3 Parker Harden Kevin Love Aldridge Anthony Davis then Paul George! Now I see why teams like Indy need a "Perfect Storm" to beat teams with true star power. Watching yesterday's game made me realize that Jason Kidd & the rest of our Vets were the difference makers in season & if Kurt Camby Sheed  Amare would of been healthy..... Oh well I can dream!

Chris
Chris

An interesting night on the blog. The Melo haters are no where to be found. Where oh where do you be. Could it be that he shut your mouths with his play, offense defense, sharing the ball?

Kvdaone
Kvdaone

Now this is what we needed!!! They're focused!

tommy2b
tommy2b

I'm really happy about this run.  Means Denver will need a miracle to get a top 3 pick.  My only worry is it might give potatohead a chance to start off (and wreck) another season.

lindro88
lindro88

Pacers screwed with the teams chemistry when they traded for Turner. Haven't been the same team since. They still have time to get it back together, but right now they look like a team that could have a real hard time in the playoffs, regardless who they play.

MeloStat301
MeloStat301

LOL @ Paul George the "defensive stopper"  Melo made him look like he belongs in the Y.

George...u just got ABUSED.

chudogz1
chudogz1

Shoulda mentioned Phil sooner, then maybe we wouldn't be in this hole. Players would have started auditioning sooner..... Great win, but the Hawks keep winning too....

newyorker9
newyorker9

tomorrow Anthony Davis better have a monster game against the hawks....seriously can somebody beat the fuc#ing hawks already!! 

Leor Reginiano
Leor Reginiano

Watching the spurs lakers game here in Vegas, Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose are commentating the game and talkin about Pau's offseason move.. Not sure which one of them said it but it went like this "I think Pau Gasol will look into joining Phil with the Knicks, maybe they can work out a 1 yr deal?.. wink wink (literally said that)

Maybe Phil does have a plan..

hashburry
hashburry

Let's not overflow the defense.  Indiana threw ups ton of wide open bricks.  Actually, the defense went on strike in the third period when they were letting Stephenson take wide open layups at will.  And why is JR Smith even on the court?

bigdishing
bigdishing

I am not going crazy for this winning streak. This team lost way too many easy games this season. But, you better believe that Indy does not want any part of a first round match up with the Triangle Knicks on a big winning streak. I hate Frank Vogel. 

Jean Marc
Jean Marc

@Ray Jorge  Woodson poor coaching and Chandler inability to guard Hibbert cost us the series against Indiana last year.

Ray Jorge
Ray Jorge

@Chris Xmen Sandro where are you???!!! Chris let's hold these frauds accountable! I still don't like "Woody's Constant Switching Defense & a lot of his "Unimaginative Offense" but Injuries & off court foolishness to our core players killed our continuity all year long! Now we have Phil as Prez he'll hold everyone accountable! Next year we'll have Phil's "System Coach" at the helm a more professional Front office, Medical Staff, our  current players development will be off the charts because were in a system. Those players who cannot succeed in his system will get removed(JR Felton) Then we add Pau Gasol(we all know he's coming) then we package Bargs Jr Felton to fill our needs. If were healthy next year were back to last years success or more!

lindro88
lindro88

Hopefully he plays. He didn't tonight.

lindro88
lindro88

Triangle Knicks? Lol. Indiana would have trouble with any team in the league the way they are playing recently.

lindro88
lindro88

No way they lose to Philly. They might be the worst team in NBA history. The Knicks could win that game with Melo, and the 4 guys who show up to the arena first.

lindro88
lindro88

They've had some decent wins. @ Denver, Charlotte and home vs Toronto. They are playing very well. The Knicks have been beating the worst teams in the league up until tonight, and if you've been watching Indiana they've been barely getting by some bad teams themselves. The whole Eastern conference besides the Nets have looked pretty bad recently.

lindro88
lindro88

Pau has had a great season.

Leor Reginiano
Leor Reginiano

Gasol is a very smart player and is familiar with the triangle and PJ... It makes a lot of sense..

lindro88
lindro88

@Ray Jorge @lindro88  They hang around some games.  I'm sure the Bulls had a hard time taking it serioulsly.  They aren't in desperation mode.  Knicks are.