It was ultimately going to come down to the Indiana Pacers struggling to find points when they could only muster up 30 at halftime against the New York Knicks in an early tip, but a stellar defensive effort kept the game within striking distance until the script was flipped in the third quarter; with both teams exploding offensively, the Pacers scoring 26 in the third, but allowing 27. So when the Pacers lost their shot at winning the third quarter due to four straight missed free throws, the Knicks were able to go to work in the fourth while the Pacers weren't.
The Pacers lost in large part to their own miscues in the third quarter; finding themselves in good position offensively, but turnovers, missed free throws, and a lack of effort on the boards stacked their odds against them. For every positive play, there was a Roy Hibbert or Lance Stephenson turnover or a lack of ability to track down the rebound. The Pacers were only outrebounded by one, but allowed 15 offensive boards, a huge swing contributing to the Knicks piling up 19 extra field goal attempts.
In addition to the offensive rebounds, it was those turnovers, seven in the third, as part of 19 overall, that sunk the Pacers. The Knicks outscored Indiana 18-5 on points off turnovers, and when the Pacers couldn't even get to 70 before garbage time, they can't afford to let possessions slip away, but continued to do so anyway. All in all, the effort wasn't awful, but the mental mistakes were staggering.
The Pacers held the Knicks to just 37% shooting and 7-25 from three point range, and despite a third quarter led by Ronnie Brewer, the Pacers held the Knicks to 20 or 21 points in each of the other three quarters with Carmelo Anthony scoring 26 on a fairly inefficient 22 shots. The defense was mostly there, but the offense wasn't able to deliver an encore of their win against Dallas, and stumbled to another 70 point effort. Paul George led the Pacers with 20 with four three pointers and David West followed with 14 and seven rebounds. It wasn't enough as the bench scored only 18 points after their nice showing in the previous game.
After a nice breath of fresh air, the Pacers return to their season long form with another frustrating loss. In this game, it was more of Indiana's mistakes that led to opportunities for a Knicks team the Pacers otherwise held in check. The offense is back at square one, and they'll have to figure out a way to rebound from this loss tomorrow night when they face the still winless Washington Wizards in DC.