While the body of the Knicks’ players were in Indiana, apparently their brains and souls were still vacationing. In a performance lacking of effort, the Knicks were destroyed by the Indiana Pacers 125-91 in both of the teams’ first game since returning from the All-Star break. First time All-Star Paul George led the Pacers with 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Tyson Chandler led the Knicks with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s second leading scorer, had just 15 points on 7-for-21 shooting.
Roy Hibbert got the game’s scoring started with a 20-foot jumper. The Knicks would tie the game on a Raymond Felton finger roll. Lance Stephenson answered back for the Pacers with a six-foot hook shot that banked off the backboard. The game was essentially over from there. The Pacers would outscore the Knicks 26-16 the rest of the quarter en route to New York’s worst performance of the season. The Knicks missed seven of their first eight shots, contributing to a 36% shooting performance in the first quarter. The “Live By The 3, Die By The 3″ Knicks began their slow death tonight by throwing up a donut from downtown, going 0-for-7 from deep in the period. Meanwhile, the Pacers made just about everything, shooting 61% from the floor in the period, including two of five shots from three-point range.
If you thought the Knicks had an ugly opening quarter, you probably almost had a heart attack watching the second quarter. The disgusting Knicks shooting actually took a step back in the quarter, dropping from 36% in the first period to 29% shooting in the second. Chandler scored eight points for the Knicks in the quarter, making his only shot attempt and going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. However, Anthony picking up his third foul of the first half with 7:09 remaining in the quarter didn’t help the Knicks. The lack of defense also didn’t help the Knicks, as they allowed the Pacers to shoot 58% from the floor, including five of eight shots from beyond the arc. George scored 12 of his 27 points in the quarter, leading a Pacers ambush as they scored 44 points in the quarter. To put the Pacers dominance into context, the Knicks scored 44 points in the first half while the Pacers matched that in the second quarter alone. The only real fight the Knicks showed in this game came at the end of the half, as J.R. Smith and Lance Stephenson got into a quick shouting match. Then, as the half was ending, Knicks assistant coach Jim Todd and Pacers head coach Frank Vogel had to be separated. Indiana would go into halftime up 74-44, well on their way to an easy win.
If the Knicks purpose in this game was to get worse and worse as the game went on, they were certainly on their way in the third quarter. After shooting 36% in the first quarter and then 29% in the second quarter, the Knicks managed to take a further step back, shooting 24% in the third quarter. At least their defense was getting better, sort of. The Pacers shot “just” 55% in the third quarter. Stephenson got the last laugh from his shouting match with Smith, scoring nine points on 3-for-4 shooting, including a driving one-handed dunk down the lane that no Knicks player was trying to defend and get placed on a poster. With the Knicks down 95-59, Smith had decided he had had enough, picking up two technical fouls after shouting at a ref, prompting his ejection. Surprisingly, he managed not to tweet or put up an instagram photo during his time in the locker room. The Pacers finished the third quarter up 102-66.
Even with the game in early garbage time, Knicks coach Mike Woodson sent Iman Shumpert, Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony out to start the final quarter with Pablo Prigioni and Steve Novak. Maybe he was trying to send a message to his squad. Whatever the message was, it probably got lost in translation, since it made no difference in the outcome of the game. Eventually, the regulars made their way to the bench. With Chris Copeland in the game, the Knicks actually went on a 16-2 run, cutting a 104-66 deficit to 106-82. Copeland would score 13 points in the period, as the Knicks shot 46% from the floor in the period, ending their effort of shooting worse and worse as the game went on. Eventually, the Pacers would regain control of the game, 19-5 the rest of the way to give the Knicks their worse loss of the season. The game got so bad, that for the first time this season, coach Woodson was seen wearing his glasses on the Knicks bench.
- Another off night for both Shumpert and Jason Kidd. Shumpert shot just 1-for-7 from the floor while Kidd missed all three of his shot attempts. The two have combined to go just 9-for-50 in their past six games.
- Anthony couldn’t carry over his hot shooting from the All-Star game. After scoring 26 points on 8-for-14 shooting and 7-for-9 from the free throw line, Antony scored just 15 points tonight on 7-for-21 shooting. Combined with his horrible game against the Toronto Raptors last Wednesday, Anthony has shot just 12-for-45 over his past two games.
- Simply put, the Knicks can’t win if they shoot just 18% from the free throw line and are out-rebounded by 15.
- While the Knicks are 2-0 against the East leading Miami Heat, they’ve gone just 3-7 against the middle of the East (Pacers, Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls). They are not just one game ahead of the Nets in the Atlantic Division and a half-game ahead of the Pacers for the second seed in the East.