The good feelings from last night's win didn't even last past the opening tip.
The Indiana Pacers had to carry at least a little bit of confidence into Madison Square Garden for their Sunday evening game with the New York Knicks. After putting forth one of their best efforts in about a month to beat Minnesota on Saturday, you would think that confidence combined with a similar effort would make for a fun and entertaining game to watch in New York.
Yeah, not so much.
The Knicks won the opening tip, Danilo Gallinari hit an open jumper and the hosts didn't let up on the Pacers the rest of the night. Within two minutes the Knicks were up 9-0 and the alarming deficits continued to expand throughout the game. The Pacers were down 32 at the half thanks in large part to 8 turnovers by the Pacers and 10 offensive rebounds by the Knicks. But a 32-point deficit would be nothing in this one as the Knicks eventually pushed the lead to 48 points late in the third quarter before cruising home with a 43-point win, 132-89.
Seriously, the Knicks were up 107-59 late in the third quarter. My NBA.com box score quit refreshing. I don't think the algorithm was prepared for such an illogical score.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, is worth recapping for the Pacers after this one but I do have a few observations after the jump along with video evidence of the moment in the first quarter when it was apparent this game was as good as over.
- The nubmers are astounding from this game but some plus/minus shockers include David Lee and Wilson Chandler both clocking in at +46 on the night. Brandon Rush had the worst number on the night at -38, off the bench. Looking forward to more beauties from Bruno.
- Again, the Pacers were short-handed with Troy Murphy and Tyler Hansbrough unavailable so it isn't surprising that so many guys who aren't used to playing big minutes were worn out on the back-to-back. But that would only explain a 15-point loss, not a 43-point loss.
- Travis Diener suited up and played for the first time this year. He only played 10 minutes, but that was 10 more minutes than T.J. Ford played. Ford was the only available player who didn't play. Maybe there is a deal in the works.
- The Pacers only shot 40% on the night and of their 54 misses, I'd say 50 of them hit the front rim. At least it seemed like that was the case. Just another sign of tired legs that eventually wanted to be anywhere but on the court at MSG.
- Jonathan Bender played about 24 minutes for the Knicks and looked pretty good. Of course, what Knick didn't look good. Still, he opened his scoring by cleaning up a miss with a dunk and finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds.
- The Pacers defense allowed the Knicks to shoot open jumpers all night and cruise through the lane like it was Central Park in June. Danilo Gallinari had the signature play of the game midway through the first quarter when he pump faked Mike Dunleavy at the arc, then drove by Josh McRoberts before throwing down a one-handed dunk on Roy Hibbert. Gallinari then landed and held a pose for a few seconds. I know violence is frowned upon by the league, but this deserved a response. If not a deliberate bull rush offensive move right back at him, then at least a firm forearm the next time he passed through the lane. Of course, there was none of that from the Pacers since their response was soft all night.