In their last meeting, the Pacers nearly defeated the Knicks with a huge lead going into the fourth quarter but could not escape with a victory. This time around, Indiana made sure that was not going to happen again, building up a huge lead from the start and building on it to the finish. The Pacers ended up winning by 18 points, 115-97 to improve to 13-11 on the season including 7-4 at home.
First Half Summary
The opening half for the Pacers was unlike any other, with complete domination from the start to the finish. The offense truly was thriving for the Pacers against a lifeless Knicks team without Kristaps Porzingis to start the first quarter. Indiana hit 5 of their first 6 shots from the field to take a 13-6 lead at the 7:58 mark of the quarter. With a tied 13-13 game at the 6:52 mark, Indiana from there would take charge and control of the game. The Pacers went on an 18-6 scoring run while shooting 60.0% from the field and 57.1% on 3-pointers to close out the quarter.
The second quarter was pretty much the same type of basketball. A depleted Knicks team, and a fast-pace Pacers offense scoring an abundance of points. The quarter started out just like how the first ended, on a big 9-2 Pacers scoring run giving them the 40-21 advantage with over 10 minutes left before halftime. New York would respond with a few baskets before the Pacers rattled them once more, with a 23-6 scoring run. It was Indiana who obviously led at the break 66-40, after outscoring the Knicks 35-21 in the second quarter.
Second Half Summary
The final half of action was just like the end of the first half, starting out largely in the Pacers favor. This time around, the Knicks would find some success making the score look closer than it really was. Indiana opened the third quarter with a 12-0 scoring run, giving them the huge lead at 70-48. New York would finally give the Pacers a response with a few baskets before Indiana really piled it on with another scoring run reaching 7-2. After that final scoring run, Indiana led 85-49 and finally gave mercy to the Knicks. Despite New York taking over the rest of the quarter, the Pacers still outscored the Knicks 29-25 and led 95-65 going into the fourth and final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Knicks finally woke up, but it was too late to overcome a masterful Pacers squad in control. Unlike the first three-quarters of play, New York was able to get on the board first and start to try a massive comeback. Just like the first paragraph stated, Indiana held on to their massive lead to the end to ensure a victory this time over the Knicks. The fourth quarter primarily was won by the Knicks, by not too far of a margin 30-20. Indiana basically put the game on cruise control and played just good enough to keep a massive lead all to themselves.
Individual Player Performances
Thaddeus Young was on a tear Monday night, finishing with 20 points (9/11 FG, 2/2 3PT, 0/1 FT), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals in 27 minutes. Young now has three games on the season with at least 20 points, which is already close to his previous season total of five. Monday night also marked a new season-high in field goal percentage (81.8%) in a single game.
Bojan Bogdanovic continued to ride his hot streak from November into December. with 19 points (7/11 FG, 3/5 3PT, 2/2 FT) in 29 minutes of action. Bogdanovic recorded his 9th game out of his last 10 with double-digit scoring on the only occasion not reaching that feat being on Friday against Toronto. Bogdanovic really had made great strides this season and continues to provide solid numbers each time out on the floor.
Victor Oladipo did not have statistically one of the best games in NBA history again but still finished strong with 16 points (6/10 FG, 3/5 3PT, 1/2 FT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks in 30 minutes. Oladipo kept his streak alive of not failing to fall in single-digit scoring for the entire season with a great output on a less-used night. For only the fourth time this season, Oladipo attempted under 15 shots and still managed solid scoring numbers. Another interesting streak worth noting about his performance is that Oladipo has 17 straight performances with at least one steal or one block. Talk about consistency, Oladipo is one of the best and Monday night was another case of a breakout season.
Pacers Box Score (ESPN)
Going Inside the Team Numbers
Scoring Breakdown: Based on the headline, quick summary of each half, and the final score, I think it was pretty clear who won the scoring battle. The Indiana Pacers scored 115 points, including 66 in the first half alone to help blow out the Knicks. Of course, based on all the information, the Pacers had to be backed up by great shooting and that’s exactly what happened. As a team, Indiana shot 46-86 (53.5%) on field goals, 11-26 (42.3%) on three-pointers, and 12-15 (80.0%) on free throws. New York was not able to come close in replicating the Pacers success, going 40-91 (44.0%) on field goals, 6-23 (26.1%) on deep shots, and 11-16 (68.8%) from the charity stripe. Once again in a win for the Pacers, they were the clear-cut winner for the scoring breakdown.
Battle of the Boards: This is the one area that is tricky to predict because winning teams often lose the battle or losing teams win the battle. This time for the Pacers, they were able to narrowly defeat the Knicks with 44 total rebounds compared to a slightly less 33 from New York. Indiana grabbed 7 on offense and 37 on defense, while the Pacers had 15 on offense and 28 on defense.
Ball Control: Controlling the ball was another area where not only the Pacers survived but thrived. Indiana only committed 16 turnovers, which is relatively good for a team having possession of the ball as much as they did. New York once again lost in this area to the Pacers, committing more turnovers (18).
Ball Movement: Just like every other area so far, the Pacers were also the better team in spreading out the offense moving the ball fluently. Indiana dished out 28 assists, compared to the Knicks who were close but lost with 26. The Pacers were led by Darren Collison for about the millionth time with 10 assists. Just kidding, probably 23 times out of the 24 games for Indiana.
Defensive Playmaking: Finally, for the last area that can make or break a team, the Pacers found a tremendous amount of success on their defensive playmaking. Indiana stole the ball 10 times and rejected 5 Knicks shots, outpacing New York who only tallied 4 steals and 2 blocks. Most notably, the two starting guards (Collison, Oladipo) each recorded 2 blocks leading the team. Usually shot blockers like Myles Turner or Thaddeus Young come to mind, but it was the night for smaller guys to thrive on defense.
The Pacers will continue their 6-game homestand with a matchup against the horrendous 3-19 Bulls on Wednesday at 7:00 PM Eastern.