On Tuesday night, at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (#2 Seed, 54-28) defeated the Indiana Pacers (#3 Seed, 49-32) 105-79.
The Series is now tied at 1-1 in the Best of 7 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Box Score
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 32 points on 13-26 shooting from the field. He added nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Iman Shumpert scored 15 points on 7-11 shooting from the floor. He added six rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Paul George led the Pacers in scoring with 20 points on 8-16 shooting from the floor. He had four rebounds, one assist, one steal and seven turnovers.
David West scored 13 points with six rebounds and four assists. George Hill scored 12 points with three rebounds and seven assists.
J.R. Smith continued to struggle with his shot as he scored eight points on 3-15 shooting from the floor. He did have six rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block.
The Knicks out rebounded the Pacers 37-35 and had a 20-6 assist to turnover ratio while the Pacers had 19 assists but 21 turnovers. The Knicks also won on the offensive glass 13-6.
The Knicks went on a 36-4 run between the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth
The Pacers scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and only two points in the fourth with their starters on the floor.
This is the third time the Pacers won Game One at MSG and then failed to win Game Two.
This is the first time that Anthony shot 50% or better since April 12th.
This was the fifth biggest win in terms of margin of victory in the playoff history of the New York Knicks.
This is the first time the Knicks have scored 100 points or more in a playoff game since Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pacers on June 9th, 1999.
Now I wish all Knicks playoff games were this easy.
But, don’t let the score fool you. This was a much closer, typical frustrating game for them, until the Indiana Offense went home early.
J.R. was off again, Melo was still struggling and the Pacers had erased a thirteen point first half deficit and had taken a two point lead late in the third.
Then the Pacers called a timeout. An interesting timeout to say the least considering they were looking pretty good. During that timeout, Frank Vogel decided to take Roy Hibbert out of the game and everything changed.
Melo drove to the rim and made a couple of big baskets to give the Knicks a three point lead at 67-64. At that point the Knicks took the momentum and ran with it.
It was another game where Pablo Prigioni and Iman Shumpert, much like what we saw in Game Six up in Boston, helped make up for another J.R. disappearing act.
This is the kind of Knicks team where you can see and hope they could win a title. The floor balance was better, the effort was better and when he was needed most, their best player was better.
Melo was on fire in the second half and really put the Knicks on his back and showed everyone that he can be the player that carries a team in the playoffs.
The thing that was fascinating to me was that how Indiana can look so good and then go south so quickly on offense. That is part of the reason why they struggled so much against the Hawks. What we saw on Sunday was probably the best their offense can possibly look. Tonight is what you see when they are at their worst.
This is why the concern over how they looked in Game One was really all nonsense. They have played this poorly multiple times already this playoffs and those times before tonight was against the bad Atlanta Hawks.
The Knicks have to feel like this is the kind of game they can build on and must build on to win this series. If they play this well offensively, only the Heat would be able to compete with them.
On a side note, Marcus Camby way back in the day was actually athletic and had a thunderous dunk against the Hawks in the 1999 playoffs. That playoff was basically the time he put himself on the map.
Could this be Iman Shumpert’s version of that dunk?
At the end of the day, this was a great win. The Knicks looked as good as they did during the winning streak to end the season and now they have to wait three days to play again. They get a chance to practice, get healthy and prepare to enter a very hostile environment in Indiana.
Coming up next, the Knicks will look to take a 2-1 series lead and steal back home court advantage in Indianapolis as they play Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals against Paul George, David West and the Indiana Pacers. The game is Saturday at 8 pm and can be seen on ABC.