Prior to the Indiana Pacers utter destruction of the New York Knicks on Wednesday night, Frank Vogel mentioned in a radio interview how excited his team was to face the Knicks, a team they are chasing in the Eastern Conference. He mentioned a playoff feel surrounding the game at the Fieldhouse, that was fueling the excitement.
It appears Vogel wasn't just talking as his team displayed every bit of the enthusiasm on court that their coach expressed in that interview. The Pacers played like it was May, while the Knicks were calling, "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" by halftime, fully unaware they were going to have to come out of the All-Star break and play at a playoff level.
The Knicks were frustrated, then tried to get physical but they simply couldn't keep up with the Pacers last night. Amare Stoudemire picked up a technical. J.R. Smith earned two T's and an early exit. Carmelo Anthony came down with PG disease, needing 21 shots to score 15 points. The Knicks as a team normally shot 29 three-pointers and make 11. Last night, they squeezed off 28 shots from behind the arc but only made five. But as the game was being decided in the first half, the Knicks missed their first seven treys and finished the half one for 15.
Along with guarding the three-ball, the Pacers took a physical approach in defending the rim. The results were lots of fouls for Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi, but also more struggles for the Knicks who only made 19 of their 40 shots around the rim.
That defensive effort set the tone for everything wonderful that happened at the other end, including they array of high-flying finishes throughout the night like the one below from Lance Stephenson. If only you could bottle that type of effort.
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