A 7-0 start for the Indiana Pacers would set the tone in their win against the New York Knicks, one that proved less than daunting from the outset. The Knicks would climb to within three at 16-13, but it would be as close as they would get the rest of the night as Indiana pushed into double figures by the end of the first quarter, leading 30-19.
It was much the same in the second quarter, as Indiana blew the game open with a 35-point quarter, leading 65-41 at the break. The Pacers shot 60% in the first half, including 4-7 from three point range, but it was their ability to not only force turnovers, but take advantage of those turnovers that created the lopsided advantage. The Knicks had 16 first half turnovers, which led to a 19-0 advantage in points off turnovers for the Pacers.
Rodney Stuckey led the Pacers in the first half with 15 points, scoring 13 in the second quarter. Stuckey finished with 17 points, leading the bench unit on a night Frank Vogel opted to rest Roy Hibbert and C.J. Watson. The bench outscored New York's 47-21 on the night, which was ramped up on the considerable garbage time in the fourth quarter.
Despite the game more or less being a three quarter blowout, the Knicks shot well in the first half despite the turnovers, and showed that in the third quarter. Cutting the turnovers and hitting shots, New York trimmed the 24-point Pacers lead to 15 on a 12-3 run to open the third. George Hill would lead the Pacers in pushing the game back into the 20-point range for good, scoring 13 third quarter points, with three threes.
Hill led Indiana with 21 points and six assists on the night to lead three starters in double figures. C.J. Miles had 16, scoring eight early in the first quarter and 14 in the first half. David West had little trouble finding his spots, scoring 13 on 6-9 shooting, coming up with five rebounds and two blocks. Though Indiana didn't need to be great on the boards, Solomon Hill (seven rebounds) and Ian Mahinmi (eight) led Indiana with solid rebounding nights.
The Pacers grabbed their third straight win, tying their season high in consecutive wins for the third straight time, improving the Pacers to 9-2 in their last 11 and putting them in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half game shy of the Charlotte Hornets, who won big tonight over fellow playoff hopeful Brooklyn.
Indiana will have a chance to extend their winning streak and complete a perfect home stand when they host the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. The Bulls have been plagued by injuries recently and will be without Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, but Indiana will almost certainly have their hands full against a Bulls team that is always impossible to count out.