The Indiana Pacers let an opportunity to rise up and steal Game 2 slip away in a hurry after allowing a 30-2 run that sealed their fate, forcing them to pay for their poor play.
The Knicks scored 32 points on 21 Pacers turnovers, many of the donations hand delivered with scant attention to taking care of the ball on the pass or dribble. As you can see in the links, many are blaming the 3:05 third quarter timeout which preceded the 30-2 run as Frank Vogel's blunder that turned the game.
I don't buy that logic on the timeout timing, but I do blame the substitution of Jeff Pendergraph for Roy Hibbert as a key to getting the Knicks comfortable on the court again. Of course, this was after a couple of easy buckets after turnovers.
Vogel called the timeout after the Pacers had just taken a two-point lead (not 15 or 20 ready for a knock out) and Carmelo Anthony followed with a missed jumper. Normally, an outlet to Lance Stephenson and the Pacers are attacking in transition. Instead all five Knicks were ahead of the Pacers who were jogging up the court with only George Hill slightly ahead of the ball.
So I have no problem with Vogel thinking, we need a bucket here, I'll give my guys a breather, draw up a play to score and then try to steal a few minutes of rest for Hibbert and keep rolling. Only problem is that none of this happened. Paul George let a bounce pass go through his hands for the first of back-to-back turnovers and the Knicks cashed in at the other end.
Then with Hibbert out the Knicks were in cats-away-mice-will-play mode and Melo was able to get to the rim. At least if Mahinmi was in the game with six fouls to give he could've gotten to the Knicks to challenge at the rim before they scored.
So I don't buy the 'killed momentum" theory on the timeout because Vogel looked at his team coming up the court before signaling for a timeout and saw a need to preserve the possession. There would've been a timeout at the next stop in play, which may very well have been on that possession anyway. The substitution and more importantly, the execution are what did the Pacers in at the Garden on Tuesday night.
Check out the links: