Stop me if I get too technical here with my analysis, but the New York Knicks shot the ball much better than the Indiana Pacers and left the Fieldhouse with a 122-113 win.
The object of the game is to put the ball in the basket and the Knicks did that more times than the Pacers. Seriously. Look at the numbers. The Knicks shot 49% (46-94) from the floor compared to the Pacers 42% (42-100). From behind the arc, the Knicks made 15 of 34 attempts compared to the Pacers at 8 for 25.
More baskets, more points.
You can't say either team played worse defensively than the other or better offensively for that matter. Both teams had plenty of opportunities to score but the shots the Pacers were making last night were off tonight. I mean, they had 100 FGAs for Slick's sake and made it to the line 25 times. It just wasn't meant to be tonight.
The Knicks meanwhile are an improved team that matches up well against the Pacers. Their lack of interior presence is washed out by the Pacers similar lack of a threat in the post. In fact, the Knicks not only started Jared Jeffries at center but they then had him guard T.J. Ford for the first six minutes of the game. Jim O'Brien tried to use Roy Hibbert to gain an advantage down low, but the big fella wasn't quite up to the heavy lifting.
The game turned in the second quarter when the Knicks rained down eight three-pointers and outscored the Pacers 38-27. With the double-digit lead established at the half, the Knicks were able to maintain it for the most of the second half until a too little, too late run by the Pacers closed the lead to seven.
The Pacers simply couldn't keep up. All the missed shots were a by product of this being a back-to-back game and their fifth game in seven days. The Knicks were fresh, having not played since Wednesday.
A few other thoughts:
- Danny Granger looked like he was really struggling with the knee bruise that kept him out of Wednesday's game. There was no burst to his game or lift on his shot. He was able to make a few threes, but on a couple, needed the running start to get a good jump. Applaud the effort since he played 37 minutes and finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds, but he wasn't nearly the factor we are used to seeing.
- T.J. Ford had his second career-high scoring game this week as he finished with 36 points and shouldered the bulk of the offense in the second half. He had 17 fourth-quarter points and nearly all of his buckets were at or around the rim. He was pretty efficient too, scoring on 14 of 23 shots, with only one turnover.
- Mike Dunleavy's stroke abandoned him again as he also appeared to be playing through fatigue and discomfort all night. He finished 2 of 7 from 3-land and 6 of 18 overall.
- High praise for my man, Stephen Graham who provided a nice spark off the bench and finished the night with 14 points. His 12-point third quarter kept the Pacers lingering around as they appeared poised to be blown out.
- Graham's effort was desperately needed because Marquis Daniels was not available tonight. Quisy had to attend his grandfather's funeral earlier today in Orlando. My thoughts and prayers go out to Quisy and his family.
- The Knicks were led by Al Harrington, making himself feel at home in his old home by finishing with 31 points and 8 rebounds. He looked real good tonight as did his running mate at forward, David Lee. Lee just grinds all night and you look up and he has 23 points and 17 rebounds. Love that guy.
- Another factor with the Knicks, to go along with them being rested and ready to go, is their pending schedule. This week they play the Lakers, Cleveland and Boston (sounds familiar), so there's no doubt Mike D'Antoni was able to gather the team's attention and make sure they focused on this game which set up well for the Knicks.