Knicks Lose Their Cool, Fall to the Pacers in a Blowout
On Wednesday night, the New York Knicks faced off against the Indiana Pacers in Indiana. The season series thus far has been closely contested, with each team securing a victory. But in this game, the Knicks resembled little of the team that they were in the first half of the season, losing 125-91.
New York looked sluggish out of the gate. Indiana jumped out to a 30-18 lead in the first, hitting on 40% of their 3-pointers. The Knicks, as it's previously been noted, struggle with their 3-point defense and tonight epitomized their difficulties. The Knicks' offense was not much better. The ball was being passed around carelessly, and on one occasion, Carmelo Anthony lost the ball unguarded and led to a Pacers dunk.
In Indiana, a comeback for the Knicks would have been more difficult than usual. Indiana protects their homecourt better than most in the league, sitting at 22-5 after last night's game. The Knicks' struggles trying to comeback led to forced shots and bad fouls. It was the second straight game in which the Knicks accumulated three technical fouls. JR Smith was ejected in the third quarter, picking up his second technical foul after arguing with the refs.
Despite a few small spurts, it was clear Indiana was the better team on this night. What may be concerning for the Knicks is that these two teams are very likely to meet up in the second round of the playoffs. The Knicks hold the second spot in the East and the Pacers remain in third. Even if the teams flip flop spots, assuming both teams can win their first round matchup, they will meet in a 2 vs 3 battle. The Knicks would be wise to stay in second, because as previously mentioned, the Pacers at home would be difficult to beat in a 7 game series.
The Knicks leading scorer was Tyson Chandler. Chandler had 19 points, hitting on 11 of 11 free throws. Chandler is definitely more of a defensive player, but his offense may be relied upon if the Knicks have more games like this. Paul George led the Pacers to victory, scoring 27 points to go along with 8 rebounds. George is becoming one of the brightest young stars in the league, and has definitely eased the Pacer's worries after Danny Granger was ruled out for most of the season.
The Knicks will face Toronto Friday night, in a rematch of last weeks 92-88 loss. Teams like Chicago and Boston in the East have all crept closer towards the top of the conference, so the Knicks can ill afford to play as poorly as they did last night.