So ummm, Danny Granger, about those “very winnable games”?
The Knicks defeated the Pacers Friday night at Madison Square Garden, 115-100. Tyson Chandler led the Knicks with 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Darren Collison led the Pacers with 15 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Two days after Danny Granger declared during a postgame interview after a victory over the 76ers, “we have two games against New York, very winnable games”, the Knicks made the All-Star forward eat his words. The final score wasn’t even an indication of how bad it really was for the Pacers.
The Knicks came out with energy, especially on the defensive end, that hasn’t been seen all season. Seven Knicks steals helped forced the Pacers into 12 turnovers in the first half, six in each of the first two quarters. The Pacers shot just 32% from the floor in the first half, with Grangers and 2012 All-Star center Roy Hibbert combining to go 3-for-14 from the floor for six points.
Meanwhile, the Knicks offense was simply flawless. They began the game with a 21-6 run and never looked back. They shot 50% from the floor in the first half, with Chandler leading them in scoring with 12 points, as they took a 50-31 lead.
In the second half, the Pacers managed to wake up on offense but the Knicks continued their dominance. They outscored the Pacers 38-27 in the third quarter, at one point taking a 32-point lead. The quarter turned into the “Novakaine” show, when Steve Novak came off the bench to stroke three shots from beyond the arc. Every time he touched the ball there was a buzz in MSG as the crowd anticipated more three pointers. He finished the game with 12 points, going 4-for-8 from three-point range.
J.R. Smith also provided a spark off the bench with 16 points, but it was in the fourth when he put the cherry on this game. With about 40 seconds remaining he caught a Mike Bibby alley oop pass and threw down a reverse dunk, getting a technical foul in the process for staring down Pacers guard Lance Stephenson.
The Knicks and Pacers go back at it tonight in Indiana at 7pm. The Knicks are still in the 9th spot in the East, as the Bucks won in Golden State last night, but can jump ahead of Milwaukee with a win tonight. They will be without backup PG Baron Davis, as he sits out with a strained right hamstring he sustained in Friday night’s game.