The Pacers were hardly impressive for all 48 minutes of regulation play in their 103-96 OT win over the Knicks on Wednesday night. But there's a point in every game when you throw out the style points and worry about addressing breakdowns later. When there is still a chance to win, none of that other stuff matters. Instead, finding a way to run out of the gym with a W becomes an impressive feat.
During his post-game comments, Frank Vogel said he told his team, "We may not see a team as desperate as we saw tonight, all year." Effort was not an issue for the Knicks, nor was execution for Carmelo Anthony who really muscled his way to 30 points and 18 rebounds. Fortunately for the Pacers, the Knicks struggled with making winning plays to go along with that effort down the stretch.
Obviously, Iman Shumpert touching Paul George's elbow on a long, three-point attempt with 5.2 seconds left didn't help. Nor did a three-point attempt by J.R. Smith, four seconds into the shot clock with less than a minute to play in regulation and the Knicks holding a one-point lead.
But that's how this game went. After slogging through three quarters, winning time in the fourth saw mini surges by both teams as each appeared to have control at certain points, only to see things swing back the other way in a hurry.
With eight minutes to play and the Knicks up six, the home team had a chance to really put the Pacers in a bind when they earned the ball after a missed shot. The Pacers offense just continued to struggle in the half-court and extending that lead to eight or nine points would be big. But Carmelo Anthony bounced a good look off the front iron and the Pacers suddenly went on a 12-2 run to jump in the driver's seat.
After that run, the Pacers were up four and had the Knicks ready to tuck tail with Paul George smothering Beno Udrih behind the arc as with the shot clock ready to expire. Udrih chucked up a prayer that splashed and quickly returned life to the Knicks.
And so the game went, until Paul George rose up to score 13 of his 22 points in the final 1:34 of regulation and overtime. No, the game did not go according to any plan derived by the Pacers coaching staff. But the end result of any plan is to deliver a win and that the Pacers did for the 10th time this season.
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