Final Score: New York Knicks 102 Indiana Pacers 88
The Knicks continued on their hot streak under interim Head Coach Mike Woodson, beating the Pacers for the 2nd straight night and winning their 3rd game overall in a row. Tonight’s victory also ended a 6 game road losing streak for the Knicks who are clicking on all cylinders and are on a roll. Tonight’s game was a great example of what will work for this Knicks team, including aggressive half-court trapping and constant frenetic movement, and what will not work. Tonight was a game of halves, as the Knicks and Pacers split which quarters they played well in; the Knicks just outplayed the Knicks in their better quarters.
-Bench Shows Up Again
The bench once again played a pivotal role in a Knicks victory. Tonight every reserve finished with a positive +/- ratio. They came up big when needed, providing energy against a Pacers team that was game through the first quarter. Mike Bibby and Iman Shumpert need to be pointed out for their play as the backup Point Guard. The offense was still able to run smoothly with Jeremy Lin resting even without backup Point Guard Baron Davis, who missed the game because of a strained hamstring.
The play of the bench has come as quite a surprise, as early in the season the Knicks were looked at as a very top heavy team with not much else. With the addition of J.R. Smith and Baron Davis, emergence of Steve Novak and Jared Jeffries, and continued development of rookies Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson the Knicks have themselves one of the deepest teams in the NBA.
With pedestrian scoring nights from top guns Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, it was clutch for the bench to pick up the slack. The Knicks benched outscored the Pacers bench 34-17. While all the Knicks reserves had a positive +/- the same could not be said for the Pacers, whose bench was exactly the exact opposite, having everyone come out negative.
-Cohesion on Both Ends of Court
What has stood out the previous 2 games under Woodson was the intensity on the defensive end, which led to easy baskets on offense and blowout wins. Tonight the Knicks started the game lacking that intensity, allowing the Pacers to score 35 first quarter points and a 2 point deficit. It did not take long for the Knicks to bounce back and get going.
The Knicks were able to buckle down on defense, allowing only 53 points for the remainder of the game, holding the Pacers to a very pedestrian 4-19 from 3 point land. The Knicks did not dominate the paint as much as Friday night, but still out-rebounded the Pacers 46-42 and scored 2 more points in the paint.
-Linsanity Lives On
Jeremy Lin turned in one of his better games of late, finishing with a very efficient 19 points 7 assists and 7 rebounds. Another important stat to point out is that Lin only had 2 turnovers the whole game, one in which he needed to step up in because of the injury to Baron Davis.
Lin got under the Pacers skin right from the start, drawing multiple fouls and even causing the players to lose their cool enough to draw technical fouls. Lin played a huge role in the Knicks coming out with a victory against a very game Pacers team.
Tonight’s game had playoff intensity, and it was very encouraging to see Lin play so well. The last time the Knicks played a game of this magnitude, Lin wilted against a very tough Miami Heat team, having one of his worst performances since being inserted into the lineup. Tonight was a true test for not only Lin but the team as a whole, and they passed with flying colors. The Knicks are clicking and are looking like the dangerous team we had envisioned when the season started.
The next game for the Knicks will be Tuesday, March 20 in New York at Madison Square Garden against division rival Toronto Raptors at 7:30 P.M. ET.s