On Sunday Afternoon, at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (53-27) defeated the Indiana Pacers (49-31) 90-80. Box Score
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 25 points on 9-23 shooting from the floor. He added five rebounds and did not play in the fourth due to a left shoulder contusion. The injury is not considered serious.
Chris Copeland was second on team in scoring with 20 points on 8-12 shooting from the floor. He added three rebounds as well. This was Copeland’s fifth 20 point game this season.
J.R. Smith led the team in rebounding with eight and scored 15 points on 7-16 shooting from the floor. He added two assists, two steals and one block.
Lance Stephenson led the Pacers in scoring and tied a career high in points with 22 on 8-16 from the floor. He was 4-9 from three and four rebounds and two steals.
Paul George struggled from the floor, shooting 3-12 for only nine points and was only 1-8 from three. He did have 11 assists and seven rebounds. David West scored 17 points on 5-9 shooting and added eight rebounds.
Jason Kidd was 0-4 from the floor, did not score but was a +17 and had four rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Knicks were 11-31 from three for (35%) while the Pacers only shot 8-28, good for (29%). The Pacers were 16-26 from the line (62%) while the Knicks only shot 9-11 from the line (82%)
The Knicks bench outscored the Pacers bench 41-22
The Knicks forced the Pacers into 26 turnovers while they only turned the ball over 11 times.
With a small lineup, the Knicks were out-rebounded 45-32 and gave up 13 offensive rebounds.
The Knicks have now eight consecutive games at home.
The Knicks won their 30th home game this season which is the most they have won at home since the 2000-2001 season.
With the win today, the Knicks are now the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the #7 seed Boston Celtics starting Saturday at MSG. This is the highest seed they have had since 1994.
Bring on the Boston Celtics.
The Knicks win today has set up a match up that will be the best one, in terms of hype and talent, that the Eastern Conference will have starting on Saturday.
That series is going to be a lot of fun and I personally, along with all of you, would love to put that team and their run the past few years to an end. But, we have a whole week to talk about them.
Today you saw that this Knicks team, who have struggled against teams who play a physical brand of defense, send a message that doing just that will not lead you to a win over them.
It seemed like the Pacers game plan today was to hope and pray their offense would show up and in the mean time, basically hammer the Knicks every time down the floor on defense.
Of course with Paul George playing a putrid game from a shooting point of view and Roy Hibbert playing, against a smaller team, like a total bum, the Pacers offense never really get off the ground. If Lance Stephenson is going to be the best player on the floor for the Pacers, I’ll take that any day of the week.
I do feel that the Knicks shooting could have been better and that the Pacers did a good job defensively, to force the Knicks into extended stretches of poor offensive play. But the defense the Knicks played great. They closed out on the perimeter, frustrated Hibbert and forced 26 turnovers, in a complete defensive effort that was very impressive.
The starters have earned a chance to finally rest and prepare for the playoffs with meaningless games against the Bobcats and Hawks coming up. Melo got nicked up and as Alan Hahn says, it’s time for “Operation Bubble Wrap” for him and other key pieces for this team.
The good news that Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and even Rasheed Wallace should or could be ready for the Playoffs adds even more excitement to what team we will have playing for us starting on Saturday.
The Knicks once again can check off another goal for them as they have home court advantage for at least the first two rounds. A season full of “first time since” moments for this franchise had another one today and hopefully some more once the playoffs begin.
Coming up next the Knicks, play the second night of a back to back for the final time this season as they will take on Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Bobcats. The game is on Monday at 7:00 pm and can be seen on MSG.