Jarrett Jack knocked down a game-winning jump shot with 0.9 seconds left on the clock to help the Indiana Pacers snap their four-game losing streak and beat the New York Knicks, 105-103.
Do I care? Hell, no!
Especially not after the Pacers lost control of a game in the fourth quarter that they had led throughout. A little lost composure here, a couple of technicals there and way too many turnovers everywhere changed a game that was floating between an eight and eleven-point advantage for the Pacers to a one possession game down the stretch.
In fact, with 3:00 left in the game, the Knicks took a 98-93 lead after completing a 14-2 run. It appeared the Pacers were imploding down the stretch once again as they contributed a few fouls and turnovers to that Knicks run.
Maybe their internal clocks were off, though. Three minutes is an eternity in the NBA and the Pacers were able to gather their composure and put together a quick 6-0 run. While the Pacers continued to struggle to find an offensive hero to step forward, they were able to get a few stops. Well, that and the Knicks contributed their fair share of slop to the messy play.
Then a hero emerged.
Over the final 1:03, Jarrett Jack scored the Pacers' final six points as the Blue and Gold closed the game on a 12-4 run. Jack hit a long, corner jumper, then finished an off-balance layup after taking a bump on one of his Bob Sanders-like drives to the hoop, and finished his night as the hero by splashing the 18-foot game winner in the face of his cousin, Chris Duhon. After the game, Jack mentioned it was especially sweet to hit that shot over his cousin. Sweet, indeed.
- Jarrett Jack had a big overall game to go along with the last-second heroics. Jack finished with 29 points on only 10-14 shooting from the floor. He knocked down his first four 3-balls, so obviously he was feeling it all night. Of course, Jack doesn't play a perfect game and a couple of his five turnovers were critical in letting the Knicks back in the game. No since dwelling on those tonight though. Since Jack has had to play so many minutes and grind through the "Heartbreak Hotel" games as he calls them, he has become the emotional leader for this team. He sets the tone for the team's heart, soul and guts on the floor.
- The Knicks kept a lid on Danny Granger most of the night holding him to only ten FGAs. Danny did get to the line in the second half and finished with 22 points, but he was blanketed down the stretch. If Jack hadn't stepped up I would be wondering why Danny didn't step his game up on offense. Fortunately, he didn't need to tonight. Danny did come through on defense, including a block on Al Harrington in the final two minutes.
- Al Harrington was huge in the Knicks late game surge and finished with 27 points. The Knicks played their best with Al and Nate Robinson on the floor. Both players come off the bench and they really bring a spark. Both missed shots late and Harrington had another layup attempt recycled by Granger.
- Troy Murphy didn't have a great shooting night but still wound up with another big double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. He also snagged three steals to nullify three early turnovers.
- The Knicks play a small lineup and it appeared early that the Pacers would go big and pound it inside. Roy Hibbert started the game quickly scored six points on three straight touches. I was hoping the Pacers would ride Roy until he missed, kind of like how the Colts used to run Edgerrin James several plays in a row just to kill the will of the defense which always had to account for the other weapons on offense. But after scoring eight points in the first six minutes, Hibbert subbed out along with Troy Murphy who had seven points at the time. So much for gettin' while the gettin's good. Roy didn't play much in the second half either and also didn't look as comfortable to start the second half. Oh, what might have been.
- David Lee was huge for the Knicks, especially in the first half, keeping the game close enough for the Knicks to make a run. Lee finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Another reason a little more Roy would've helped, since Lee had to bang with Hibbert when he was in there.
- At halftime, Clark Kellogg offered his personal New Year's resolutions for three players. For Jarrett Jack, he wanted to see more buckets made after his bruising drives. With 24 seconds left, Jack followed through and finished his "bruising" drive. For Troy Murphy, Special K wants him to shoot free throws at 80% or better compared to the 69% he's shot through the first 31. Murph was 4-6 on the night at the line including two big misses in the fourth. For Danny, it was simply to keep on keepin' on. Continue to "flow and flower" just the way he has so far this season.
- This game was quite even on the slop meter as the Knicks finished with 21 turnovers to the Pacers' 19. At one point in the fourth, the Pacers could've been up by 15-20 points if they were taking care of the ball, but on the other hand, if the Knicks were more careful they could've been up ten.