Friday, January 17, 2014

Recap: Knicks overpowered in loss to Pacers

Carmelo Anthony shot out to 18 points in the first quarter, but slowed down in the second, which turned out to be key as New York fell to Indiana on the road by 28 points.

The Pacers cruised to a 117-89 win on Thursday as the Knick looked sluggish.

Anthony was able to get off to a strong start, scoring 18 points in the first quarter. Melo almost single-handedly kept the game close in the first. Anthony even knocked down a buzzer beating three-pointer to put the Knicks up 31-30 headed into the second.

But the Pacers defense clamped down and held Anthony to two points in the next period and the Knicks to 17. The second quarter seemed to be the turning point in the game and New York was unable to respond.

"We came out ready to play," said coach Mike Woodson after the game. "But as the game started to wear on, it was like they just tore into us and we went the other way."

"I don't want to feel like if I'm not scoring the basketball, then we don't have a chance to even be in a game," said Anthony when asked about the lack of scoring help. "I don't want to feel like that."

Indiana's Lance Stephenson led the way for the Pacers with 28 points hitting 10 of 17 shots on the night. Four other Pacers also finished with double-digit scoring including Paul George who had a second-best 25 points. 

Coach Woodson said, "This is the first time [Stephenson] has really exploded against us and obviously him scoring a season high, you don't expect that. But you got to tip your hat to him, because he was on his game. We had no answers for him and that's something that's go to be addressed next time we suit up and play against this team."

Pacers' shot chart
The Pacers didn't quite dominate any one area offensively, but rather did a little bit of everything. The team shot 50% from the field. They hit 20 of 34 shots at the rim and knocked down 10 of 23 from outside the arc. They were also highly efficient from the free throw line, shooting over 90%.

Defense was the key to the Pacers win, alongside the efficient shooting. The Knicks, as a team, shot 40% from the field and only 20 from three-point range. Raymond Felton, JR Smith (12 points each) and Tyson Chandler (13 points) all had efficient nights, but no one really stepped up as the second option for New York. 

Perhaps most disappointing were Andrea Bargnani and Iman Shumpert who both shot poorly. Bargnani shot three for nine from the field and scored just six points. Shumpert wasn't much better making just one shot for the entire game.

Making matters worse, both Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin left the game early with injuries. Woodson said following the game that both players could possibly miss some time. But Stoudemire downplayed his rolled ankle during a post-game press conference. Stat compared this injury to another injury he has had in the past, saying the previously injury wasn't a big deal. However, it might not be surprising to see the New York medical staff be cautious given Stoudemire's history.

Unfortunate for Martin and Stoudemire, the Knicks don't have any time to rest. Friday that will return to the Garden to take on the Los Angeles Clippers. The game tips off tomorrow at 7 p.m. on MSG.

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