On Sunday Afternoon, at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (#2 Seed, 54-28) were defeated by the Indiana Pacers (#3 Seed, 49-32) 102-95.
The Pacers now have a 1-0 Series Lead in the Best of 7 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Box Score
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 27 points on 10-28 shooting from the floor. He added 11 rebounds, one assist and one steal.
J.R. Smith scored 17 points on 4-15 shooting from the floor. He added five rebounds and two assists. He is now 12 for his last 42 from the floor since he was suspended in the Celtics series.
David West led the Pacers in scoring with 20 points on 8-15 shooting from the floor. He added four rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Paul George scored 19 points on 5-14 shooting from the floor. Lance Stephenson had a double-double with 11 points and a game high 13 rebounds. DJ Augustin scored 16 points and was 4-5 from downtown.
Six Pacers players were in double figures, scoring between 11 and 20 points.
The Pacers won the rebounding battle 44-30 and had 21 assists compared to only 15 from the Knicks.
The Pacers outscored the Knicks 59-38 in the second and third quarters.
The Knicks have never won a playoff series after losing Game 1 at home — they’re 0-5 in those series.
This is the first time the Knicks have lost back to back home playoff games since losing seven in row from 2001 till 2012.
This was the first time the Knicks have hosted Game 1 of a second round series since 1995. They also lost to the Pacers in that game.
This is the first time the Knicks have lost back to back home games since March 3rd and March 7th losses against the Heat and Thunder.
It took the Knicks nearly all season to earn home court advantage not only in the first round, but in the second round as well.
Now, it’s gone.
The Pacers walked into the Garden today and imposed their will. They played basically a perfect game from their vantage point and now lead the series 1-0.
This game was played very much in the Pacers favor in terms to how the game was called (These Refs were AWFUL) and how the Knicks reacted to the calls time and time again (How many times is Mike Breen gonna bring up that Narrative? A Million?).
If you look at the box score, it was not like one Pacer had a big game where he was unstoppable. It was a total team effort and once they got it together in the second quarter, they were hard to beat.
They made enough big shots to thwart Knick runs, rebounded extremely well and played the game physically at the perfect pace to fool the Refs into thinking they were not fouling.
The NBA did neither team a favor by having them play so quickly after they each closed out series on the road on Friday night. But, for the Pacers to look so much better from an effort standpoint then the Knicks is a problem.
What also is a problem is the fact that Melo and J.R. pretty much can’t get going with their shots. Now I’m not going to sit here and suggest them to stop shooting, that is foolish. They are our best players and you have to trust (Hope) that they can get it together soon.
We have seen each guy go through slumps this season and they have found a way to get out of them. With the Playoffs here, the slump is magnified 100 times, if not more and it puts more pressure on them to get out of it.
I also don’t understand how Raymond Felton doesn’t get to create more chances will the ball in his hands. He was great in the first quarter and he was great creating with the ball in his hands in the entire Celtics series.
The Pick and Roll has worked well for the Knicks and it almost seems like that they are forcing Isolation on themselves if only to see if today is the day it works.
It is a part of the offense and wont go away completely but it just seems like the usage is way too high considering the lack of success it has had all playoffs long.
Felton has been the most consistent player on the floor the past seven games and he needs to be able to run the offense that works best. That is the Pick and Roll and the Knicks look a lot better when its the go to play on offense.
Game Two is going to be a must win for the Knicks. Going down 2-0 before heading out on the road to a very tough place to play like Indiana would be a serious problem.
It is only one game and we have seen the Knicks bounce back from a bad game (Game 5 vs. Boston) before and get a much needed win. The heart and determination for this team has been great all season. They really thrive when their backs are against the wall.
The Knicks are in for another fight this round and we will see if they come out swinging on Tuesday.
Coming up next, the Knicks will look to even the series at 1-1 at the Garden as they play Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals and take on Paul George, David West and the Indiana Pacers. The game is Tuesday at 7 pm and can be seen on TNT.