Pacers Take Game 1 From Knicks

pacers-vs-knicks

The New York Knicks were a little bit off the mark and the Indiana Pacers outplayed the Knicks in the paint, leading to a 102-95 Pacers victory in game one of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Sunday.

David West led the way for Indiana with 20 points, Paul George added 19 and D.J. Augustin kicked in 16 as the Pacers build a 16-point lead in the third quarter and then held on down the stretch.

Though the offensive was sharp, it was Indiana’s defense and rebounding that made the difference in game one. The Pacers brought their signature physical play to the Garden, outrebounding the Knicks 44-30, while frustrating the NBA’s scoring champ, Carmelo Anthony. Anthony still managed 27 points, but hit just 10 of 28 field goals.

“Right now they’re just being really physical with him, they’re trying to bang him, they’re trying to frustrate him,” Knicks point guard Raymond Felton said, according to ESPN.com. “But we’re going to be fine, he’s going to be fine.”

The Knicks shouldn’t be too surprised. This is what Indiana has done all year. The Pacers ended the regular season ranked second in fewest points allowed and first in opponent’s field goal percentage. Still, it was a big deal for the Pacers to get it done on the big stage and set the tone for the best of seven series.

“Just a strong defensive effort and then offensively guys played with great poise,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “Just a complete team effort, very proud of them.”

It may just be one game, but the Knicks know they have to start asserting themselves and regain control of this series before it’s too late.

“They did all the little things,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “We didn’t start playing until we actually got down and it was desperation and we’ve got to play like that from the start.”

The Pacers definitely proved they have some match-up advantages against the Knicks, but winning three more games against one of the league’s best teams still won’t be easy. On the other hand, the Knicks seem like a team that can’t or that’s not willing to make necessary adjustments. If they continue to rely on outside shooting, they better heat up quick, or they may not hang with Indiana for long.

Despite the game one loss, expect the Knicks to be on the favorite line again for game two on Tuesday, but look for another close game and don’t be surprised in the Pacers go up 2-0.

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