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Pacers win ugly over Carmelo Anthony-less knicks

Jan 10, 2013, 11:17 PM EDT

New York Knicks guard Smith guards Indiana Pacers forward George during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis

There’s no question that the Indiana Pacers, much like any team in the NBA, couldn’t care less exactly how their wins are acquired. Whether they come due to a stifling defensive effort that allows the offense to barely get by is of no consequence; all that matters is that ultimate result.

Indiana took down the Knicks on Thursday for its ninth straight home victory by a final of 81-76, and the game wouldn’t have even been that high scoring if not for some garbage time buckets scored in the final two minutes.

New York was playing without Carmelo Anthony, who was suspended for this game for trying to track down Kevin Garnett at the team bus after the Knicks lost to the Celtics on Monday, and after Garnett supposedly said some crazy things that had the desired effect of getting under Anthony’s skin.

With Carmelo out of the picture, the Knicks offense struggled mightily.

J.R. Smith was the team’s lone hope for self-initiated offense, and while he finished with a game-high effort of 25 points, it took him taking 29 shots in over 40 minutes of playing time to do so.

The Pacers did what they do best, which is playing the game at one of the slowest paces in the league, and defending like crazy to limit their opponent’s chances. They held the Knicks to under 35 percent shooting, and scored just enough, behind 24 points form Paul George, to be able to secure the victory.

This makes two consecutive games where the Pacers have slowed the two best teams in the Eastern Conference offensively, holding the defending champion Heat to just 77 points on Tuesday, and following that up by holding the Knicks to 76 on Thursday.

Whether Anthony was out or not, the effort and intensity that the Pacers have exhibited on the defensive end deserves to be noticed. In the final two quarters against Miami and the first two on Thursday against the Knicks, Indiana’s defense allowed a total of just 69 points — and did so against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference standings.

Besides the 24-point performance from George, the only other Pacers player to score in double figures was reserve big man Ian Mahinmi, who finished with 13 points in 20 minutes off the bench. The rest of the points came from a balanced attack, but no player came through with anything more than a minimal contribution, which will be an issue for this team as the season progresses and it attempts to make a run into the postseason.

It’s unclear whether or not the Pacers defense is really that stellar to where the offense can be this substandard for extended stretches, and whether it’ll be enough to expect playoff series victories over teams like the Knicks and the Heat.

But on this night, and with the Knicks missing their leading scorer, Indiana’s style proved to be difficult enough to deal with, and in the grind of the regular season schedule — one that sees the Pacers sitting at third in the East and a mere two and a half games behind the Miami Heat for the top spot in the standings — that might be all that matters.

  1. saint1997 - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    these suspensions and injuries are really killing the Knicks. I wanna see this team as a fully healthy squad. Felton, Shump, Stat, Melo, Sheed, Novak etc. have all been out and its really hurting the Knicks chances here. That said Pacers deserved this win with their D, and I think Paul George should be an all star this year

    • nycalldayz - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:14 AM

      But the Knicks were winning without Shump, Stat, Sheed or Melo. So what’s with the excuses?

      • hartdaddy - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:42 AM

        If anybody has been paying attention, you would clearly see NYs not the same team without Felton running the point. Once he’s back they should be back clicking. As for Shump, see what difference Avery Bradley makes for Boston, that’s what Shump brings to NY, so yeah, they should be WAY better once he’s back & healthy. Also no Melo & at one point these guys lead by four, damn nicr fight shown by this team, close lost to a good pacer squad without your starting PG & star player. You damn right they deserved an excuse tonight, if anybody watching this is under the assumption that this was the REAL NY Knicks tonight then they’ll be sadly disappointed later on in the year when this team is crushing fanbases last hopes of nabbing playoff spots en route to a top seed & division title in the east. Pacers should be pissed they let a team without their star players hang around the way they did, that’s like losing to Miami without Wade & Lebron, or San Tone without Duncan & Parker.

      • badintent - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        no, we did not win without Melo AND Felton. Take 40 points off the board, you don’t win in the NBA. Next question.

      • saint1997 - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:01 AM

        they’re not excuses, I’m just saying that they could be so much more!!

  2. dko83 - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Worth it Melo? KG-2 Melo-0

    • badintent - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      You gotta ask Rondo, he of the cheap suckerpush shot. Can’t wait till your children play the man-child Cousins, we get to see who can be more fake tought stupid acting. “And the Oscar for best actor in a GI Joe CGA goes to ………………..”

  3. wjarboe - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    Ugly to you. Team D is pretty to me.

  4. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Just wanna confirm that Chalmers took the last shot as James passed it off in the Heat game.

  5. aboogy123456 - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    Paul George looks great and is a budding star. Last year I posted on here that he would be better than Danny Granger and most people disagreed. He does so many good things for his team without having to score, danny granger only is able to score. If he can work on his ball handling it will help him more in one on one situations and he can be one of the best swingmen in the league.

    • justinnoah - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      I’m with ya boogy. Since his rookie year you could see that Paul George is destined to be an All-Star. If he played in a big city we’d hear about him all the time on ESPN, etc. The kid has serious game… and another future All-Star should be Lance Stephenson.

  6. dysraw1 - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    very good defense an less than stella defense, from the knicks. thats the cause of our lost last night. there are no night off in this league

  7. creek0512 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    Funny, no one mentions how the Pacers have played the whole season without Granger and they are only a couple games out of first.

  8. damp1015 - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    Even though I do not like the Pacers from the old days of Knicks/Pacers (Miller) I will say, they are playing good ball. George is great and could get even better. He is becoming the face of the Pacers and should.

    As far as the game, both sides didn’t play well, my Knicks couldn’t score, JR had to try too much. It was very low scoring so both sides struggled at something.

    But again, respect to them for now.

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