Turnovers became an issue for the Indiana Pacers early and often in tonight's Game 2, and despite taking a third quarter lead, Indiana found out how difficult it was going to be to close out a playoff game on the road when having 21 turnovers on the night. It was pretty similar in that regard to the final regular season game against the New York Knicks, where the Pacers had 26 turnovers, but were still very much alive in the game if they could just keep composure.
At some point though, turnovers are going to catch up to you against a good team and for Indiana, it was an Indiana timeout after taking a 64-62 lead at the 3:04 mark of the third quarter. The Knicks emerged from the timeout by switching Paul George off of Carmelo Anthony on two straight possessions, giving the Knicks five quick points, and it was off to the races. New York hit the hole for a 36-4 run while Indiana slammed into a wall.
From that 3:04 mark until Indiana conceded their starters halfway through the fourth, Indiana shot 0-9 from the field, 0-5 from three point and 2-5 from the free throw line with five turnovers. The Knicks on the other hand, were a cool 11-16 with five offensive rebounds and a pair of threes. The Pacers wouldn't score in the fourth quarter until the 4:48 mark and wouldn't hit a field goal until Orlando Johnson's three over 12 minutes after they took the 64-62 lead.
The Knicks did a tremendous job of adjusting to Indiana's defense tonight, being quick on offense to avoid a repeat of Game 1, getting the switches they want, and attacking the glass. On the other end, the Knicks were extremely fast at rotation and the same looks the Pacers got in Game 1 simply weren't there in Game 2, as active Knicks defenders forced Indiana into countless mistakes. Add in a Pacers team that not only wasn't getting the same opportunities defensively to control the game, but didn't appear nearly as hungry defensively as they did in the opening contest had they even had the same chances.
Despite all of this, the Pacers, when not turning the ball over, were still getting solid looks and were on point offensively, shooting over 50% before the woeful conclusion caught up with them. The Pacers dipped around 42% before Gerald Green's garbage time heroics spiked Indiana back up to 45.5% for the game. New York's hot streak helped them wrap up at 49.4%, so the extremes of New York's 36-4 are simply that: one hell of an outlier when taken on its own.
That doesn't mean the conclusion of this game was necessarily an outlier. Indiana getting outscored 32-6 in points off turnovers will get you a 26-point loss in the playoffs and that's something they have to be aware of with the lengthy layoff before Game 3. It'd be foolish to expect Indiana to be so...distracted, but unfortunately, a cold streak and a bad turnover night aren't anything new for the Pacers.
Were there any real concerns with the improved shooting performance of Carmelo Anthony? Anthony finished with a game high 32, shooting 13-26 and hitting a pair of threes. Anthony was having a load of fun when the pick and roll switched defenders from Paul George to West or George Hill, but what really hurt the Pacers was Anthony's, and New York's, quick attacking offense. George had a solid night offensively, scoring 20, but was a step off pace defensively from his Game 1 showing. Assuming Indiana improves on pick and rolls to avoid switches, you can hope his defense picks back up for Game 3.
Indiana's active defense really limited the effectiveness of every Pacer. West had 13 and Roy Hibbert just 6, but the two were threats when Indiana's back court could get them the ball. They just simply couldn't work through the activity of New York's defense to get them where they wanted to be. Hill did have seven assists and Hibbert did have 12 rebounds, but against the turnover disaster, it was all pretty moot once the lid clamped tightly down on the basket. An honorable mention has to go to D.J. Augustin again for another solid night. The stat line wasn't as full as in Game 1, but Augustin managed the game as well as you could expect him to (or anyone tonight for that matter).
So all in all, the game ended in blowout fashion, tying the series up at 1-1, but realistically, there would've been a lot of concerns for the Knicks had it ended any other way. That the Pacers were hurting themselves directly with the turnover discrepancy, but still found themselves in the lead late in the third quarter is your moral victory line of the night.
The playoffs are about adjustments, and tonight, the Knicks made the adjustments and played like the team that had lost home court advantage and were staring a potential 0-2 hole square in the eye just two days earlier. Don't be pleased by the outcome, but know the Pacers are still in control of the series with Game 3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Saturday night.
TiqIQ's job is to find the best deals and sellers out there on the market, and for Indiana Pacers tickets, check out ChargedFM.