Having been eliminated from playoff contention for a third straight year, the New York Knicks looked to end the season strong with a victory. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers who have already clinched a playoff spot, sought a victory in hopes of locking down the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference.
Knicks display high scoring quarter
New York started the game converting on all of their first eight shot attempts. By the 5:55 mark of the first frame, they were on a 17-5 run. Derrick Williams scored 12 points and went 5-of-5 from the floor. Arron Afflalo had six points including a 3 pointer at the buzzer to end to period. The Knicks shot 65 percent from the field and displayed a 34 point quarter to take a seven point lead. Ian Mahinmi carried the Pacers early on with 12 points of his own.
Things began to get sluggish for New York
Indiana started the second period on a 7-0 run. The Knicks did not made a field goal until the 7:46 minute of the frame. After limiting themselves to just one turnover in the opening 12 minutes of the contest, New York committed 7 turnovers in the quarter. The Pacers outscored their opponents 24-18 but New York still held a one point lead at halftime.
Pacers continue to display strong performance
In the third quarter, Indiana tighten their defense with the offense continuing to roll on. They went on a 17-3 run and held New York to just 16 points in the period. Trailing 79-70 at the start of the final 12 minutes of the game, the Knickerboxers effort did not go away. Although they reduced the Indiana lead to seven with 2:43 remaining in regulation, Indiana’s offense could not be contained and the Pacers went on to secure a win in their final home game of the season.
Williams concluded the game with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Rookie Jerian Grant had 18 points and six assists. Afflalo chipped in 13 points off the bench. George Hill and Paul George had 19 points apiece. Mahinmi finished with 14 points and Myles Turner recorded 13 points to lead the Indiana bench.
When asked about the struggles during the third quarter in the post-game interview, head coach Kurt Rambis said “We didn’t do a good job of stopping their penetration. They were allowed to penetrate and that created a confusion in our defense and allowed them to get open scoring opportunities. A lot of it had to do with our poor execution on offense, started turning the ball over. We just weren't playing as focused as we were in the first half”.
Other things to note
- Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon, Lance Thomas and Kristaps Porzingis did not play.
- Robin Lopez is the first Knick center to start all 82 games since Patrick Ewing did in the 1991-92 season.
- For a second straight year, the Pacers sweep New York in the season series 3-0. Last season, they swept them 4-0.
- With the combination of Indiana’s win and the Detroit Pistons loss against the Miami Heat, the Pacers secured the seventh spot.
Up next for Indiana
The Pacers conclude their season Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks at 8:00 P.M. EST.