Zach seems perplexed that Dunleavy and the Pacers
are trying so hard to win. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
The Indiana Pacers took advantage of a 22-point third quarter by Mike Dunleavy to finally run away for a rare blowout win over the New York Knicks, 119-92. Dunleavy finished with a career-high 36 points, single-handedly taking over the game in the third quarter. With the score tied at 64, Dun outscored the Knicks 9-0 and by the time he was done in the third, the Pacers were up by 20. In Madison Square Garden these days, that's called, ballgame.
Dun was in some freaky kind of zone, hitting shots from all over the place. The long range shots are expected, but Dunleavy finished several drives to the hoop with wild shots that found the bottom of the net. He truly maximized his "hang time" on a couple of shots around the hoop that only go in when you are white hot, which aptly describes Dunleavy's second half.
More thoughts on the game:
- The Pacers weren't exactly inspiring during the first two and a half quarters. They seemed o be controlling the action, but mind numbing turnovers kept the game sloppy and close. Several frustrating turnovers were on what appeared to be great scoring opportunities while pushing the action up court. The starters finished with 18 of the 20 turnovers with Jamaal Tinsley dumping six possessions.
- Turnovers aside, everyone contributed positives, starting with Jamaal Tinsley who only took eight shots after hoisting up 27 in Miami. He did drop 12 helpers on his friends continually pushing the ball to put pressure on the Knicks.
- Jermaine O'Neal came out smoking and finished the first half with 18 points. Foul trouble kept him shackled the rest of the night, but he finished with 22 points and a couple of blocks.
- For the Knicks, Marion's own, Zach Randolph was sizzling in the first half, as well. He hit several long shots and didn't appear to draw iron on any of them. The Pacers defensive effort early was lacking allowing Randolph and others to get nice looks without having to work. When Randolph took his time and lined-up a long three to end the half, he was given far too much cushion to get comfortable. When the shot splashed, the Knicks were back within seven and Randolph had 22 points.
- Dunleavy's offensive outburst was only half of the blowout equation. The Pacers defense tightened up nicely after the break. I have no idea what Jim O'Brien says at the half, but several times this year the Pacers have made adjustments after the half that proved to be the difference. Jeff Foster led the defensive effort. With J.O. on the bench, Foster found himself matched up a few times with Eddy Curry or Zach Randolph on the low block. Both Knicks seemed to not realize Foster's defensive quickness and continued to try to force the action on him. Foster beat them to the spot every time forcing bad shots and turnovers.
- Once the Pacers began pulling away in the third, the Knicks seemed to cash it in. Only spoon-fed gifts from the Pacers would've allowed the lead to shrink because that Knick team wasn't going to dig down and work their way back into the game. The fourth quarter gave way to plenty of boos and derisive chants that seemed to pour a numbing glaze over the home team.
- O'B tightened up the bench minutes until the game was on ice. Foster and Marquis Daniels were instrumental in the second half surge, but other than that, David Harrison and Kareem Rush played sparingly. Shawne Williams is officially buried. Shawne has to get it done on the defensive end to earn more minutes. He'll have plenty of opportunities for redemption, so the only thing to do is keep working.
- Troy Murphy found himself in a similar situation to Shawne a few games ago, but injuries opened up playing time and Murph has been a factor again. Against the Knicks, Murph drained five 3-balls and, along with J.O., really helped the Pacers offense stay ahead of the Knicks in the sloppy first half.
- The Pacers finally jump above .500 barrier since losing six in a row in early November. Looking ahead to the Sixers at home on Wednesday and the Timberwolves on the road on Friday, it is time to focus on every possession and take care of business. Philly has shown they will scrap with anyone for a W, so forget I even mentioned Minnesota, all that matters now is the next possession on Wednesday.