Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks
Post Game Recap
When quite possibly the best game you play in the season results in a loss you know things are going tough and that is exactly how it is going for the Knicks tonight after they lose their fourth straight game, fifth at home, to the Pacers 103-96. The Knicks effort was there from the start as they jumped out to a 13-0 lead but the little mental things that separate a contending team from a pretender reared their head again as the Knicks were unable to get over the hump and take down the Pacers. Morale victories do not help much in the standings but the Knicks do reside in what is the worst division in the NBA right now so they are right there in the standings. Hopefully this game shows them how they need to play in every game and they can build something positive from it. The Knicks will have a couple of days off before embarking on a road trip that starts in Washington to take on the Wizards Saturday night.
Player of the Game: Beno Udrih
Udrih had a horrendous game last night against the Detroit Pistons but bounced back in a big way tonight against the Pacers. Udrih filled the stat sheet unlike any point guard had for the Knicks this season, scoring 19 points, handing out four assists and grabbing eight rebounds. Udrih was aggressive on the offensive end and made a number of circus shots as he oozed with confidence as the game went on. He shot eight of 15 from the field, including three of four from the three-point line. The offense also looked good with him on the court as he has the versatility to run a number of different things from the point guard position and mesh with his teammates. For one game, and hopefully for the near future, Udrih looks like the point guard the Knicks have been seeking.
Carmelo Anthony did everything he could to will the Knicks to a victory tonight but it just was not enough. Anthony stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 30 points, grabbing 18 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Anthony was a menace on the offensive glass as he almost double-doubled there alone, pulling down nine offensive rebounds. This team will go as Anthony goes and it would go a long way for the Knicks if he was a little more efficient on offense. He has a lot on his plate right now but he could still tweak a couple of things to make it work a little better for the Knicks.
Iman Shumpert’s stats won’t blow you away tonight but the effort he gave on the court was outstanding as he was game for a tough matchup against one of the best players in the NBA in Paul George. Shumpert made George’s life extremely difficult while he was on offense and played good defense throughout the night, finishing with five steals. Shumpert had a mental mistake at the end fouling George on a three-point attempt with five seconds left but he had a solid performance throughout the night and that shouldn’t overshadow the rest of the things he did well tonight as George being held in check early in the game kept the Knicks in it.
The effort in the rebounding department was outstanding for the Knicks tonight. The Pacers are one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA and the Knicks were actually able to outrebound them tonight 52-49. It was an outstanding effort by all as five players had five or more rebounds and Shumpert added four as well. Anthony led the way with 18 and was helped by nine from Kenyon Martin and eight each from Andrea Bargnani and Udrih. The effort was matched on the defensive end as well, as the Knicks held the Pacers to 37.9 percent shooting for the night.
When the Knicks needed Anthony most tonight he came up short, as he shot only three of 10 in the fourth quarter and overtime. He also missed a shot near the end of the buzzer that would have won the game for the Knicks at the end of regulation. On the flip side, Paul George showed up when it meant the most, shooting seven of 11 from the field in the fourth quarter and overtime and finished with a game high 35 points. The explosion from George coincided with Shumpert being on the bench, as Mike Woodson took Shumpert out of the game with a little over a minute left in the third quarter and did not re-insert him until barely four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The offense underperformed once again tonight, albeit against one of the best defenses in the NBA. It is disappointing though because they did start the game off on a 13-0 run but were unable to keep it going on the offensive end. The Knicks ended the game shooting 37 percent from the field and an even worse 26.7 from beyond the three-point line, going eight of 30. The Knicks have to start figuring things out on the offensive end, as the assist to turnover ratio tonight was just unacceptable at an even one, as they only had 15 assists and 15 turnovers.
Outside of J.R. Smith the Knicks bench provided nothing tonight. Smith scored 21 of the 27 Knicks bench points tonight, something that has to improve and should once Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler return. Woodson will have a lot of decisions to make when this roster gets healthy as to who works well together to get this team going in the right direction.