Jan 10, 2013, 11:17 PM EDT
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.
Jul 11, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT
Dumping Lin is key step for Rockets getting Chris Bosh
Jul 11, 2014, 1:39 PM EDT
Gilbert could take a lesson just in case LeBron leaves Cleveland again
Jul 11, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT
The free agency flood gates are about to open.
Jul 11, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT
LeBron: ‘ I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?’
Jul 11, 2014, 12:54 PM EDT
“My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.” —LeBron James
Jul 11, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT
LeBron leaving Heat after four seasons
Report: After cross-country plane flight with him, Dwyane Wade doesn’t know what LeBron James will do
Jul 11, 2014, 11:32 AM EDT
Another sign this could drag on a while longer.
Jul 11, 2014, 10:46 AM EDT
Landing Parsons would squeeze some of the money for other Dallas role players.
Jul 11, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT
Could such a leak be LeBron setting up a reason to reject Cavaliers and return to Heat?
Jul 11, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
If Carmelo chooses New York or Chicago, the Lakers should wait for the next big star.
Jul 11, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
He’s waiting to see what option is the most attractive… which really means who offers the most money.
Jul 11, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT
Will we actually know the result of Heat-Cavaliers before Germany-Argentina? Probably, but not definitely
Jul 10, 2014, 11:48 PM EDT
Hornets first-round pick making a lot of headlines for the wrong reasons
Jul 10, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT
Of course, Wallace believes Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant take over games
Jul 10, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT
Apparently, Melo returning to New York is not a forgone conclusion
Jul 10, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT
Closing arguments are set for July 28, so no quick end to this.
Jul 10, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
The Suns keep a fan favorite.
Jul 10, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT
The Suns already have a deep backcourt, but Thomas would fit their offense.
Jul 10, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT
This will either be the garbage-time sideshow for Miami next season, or the lone bastion of hope for the future of what remains of Heat fans.
Jul 10, 2014, 5:59 PM EDT
Like everyone else, Phil Jackson is in a holding pattern.
- Report: Rockets want to trade Jeremy Lin to Lakers 0
- LeBron to Cleveland first domino, what’s next? Bosh to Rockets, and much more 18
- LeBron James in his own words on why he chose Cleveland 73
- LeBron James going home, to sign with Cleveland Cavaliers 222
- While waiting on Plan A to make up his mind, Lakers mulling Plan B options 25
- Report: Heat and Cavaliers expect decision before LeBron James leaves for Sunday’s World Cup final 59
- Reports: Carmelo Anthony unsure on Knicks, can’t get the Bulls out of his head 55
- Phil Jackson says he has not heard from Carmelo, has tried to recruit Gasol 36