Knicks even up series against Pacers
By The Sports Xchange
|New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony (7) drives to the basket past Indiana Pacers' David West (L) and Jeff Pendergraph (R) during the fourth quarter in Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff basketball series in New York, May 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony awoke from his shooting slumber to score 32 points and lead the New York Knicks to a 105-79 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
The series is knotted at 1-1 heading to Game 3 on Saturday in Indiana.
Anthony converted 13 of his 26 shots from the floor, muscling his way to the basket or stepping back to drain jumpers. He shot 4-for-4 from the foul line, grabbed nine rebounds and had three assists and two steals.
It was the fourth time he scored 30 or more points this postseason and the 21st time in his playoff career.
The Knicks put the game out of reach with a 26-2 blitz that started with 2:09 left in the third and New York ahead 66-64. The run ended with 4:48 left in the game and the Knicks comfortably ahead, 92-66. Anthony scored 16 points in that span.
“I can’t stop attacking,” Anthony said. “I can’t stop being aggressive on the court. I thought I did a good job of making adjustments out there and being patient.”
Anthony, the NBA’s leading scorer during the regular season, shot just 35.7 percent in Game 1, a 102-95 Indiana victory. In the final two games of the first-round series against the Boston Celtics, he made only 15 of his 47 shots.
Iman Shumpert added 15 points for the Knicks, and Pablo Prigioni connected on all four of his shots from the floor, including two 3-pointers, for 10 points.
Paul George led the Pacers with 20 points.
Indiana was outscored 33-13 in the fourth quarter, with Anthony contributing 11 points before he was subbed out with four minutes left.
Normally a sure-handed team, Indiana had 21 turnovers, their highest mark in the postseason, which led to 32 New York points. The Knicks turned the ball over only seven times, leading to six Indiana points.
“We had open looks,” said George, “but the turnovers ... that’s tough to overcome. And being on an opponent’s home floor, you’re just digging yourself into a deep hole that’s tough to get out of.”
New York held a 72-66 advantage after three quarters by continually attacking the rim. Anthony, playing with a sore shoulder, had one of his finest quarters of the postseason, nailing five of nine shots from the floor.
With Indiana’s big man, Roy Hibbert, on the bench, Anthony went right to work. His seven straight points wiped out the Pacers’ 61-60 lead, their first lead of the game, providing the Knicks with a 67-64 cushion with 2:09 left in the third. New York never trailed again.
“Melo, just being a scorer that he is, saw an opening,” Knicks center Tyson Chandler said. “He’s going to get great looks. He’s going to get that free-throw jump shot throughout the series.”
Hibbert led the Pacers with 12 rebounds and four blocked shots, but he was limited to six points.
“I thought that we did a good job, and then (Anthony) just started going off towards the end of the third,” Hibbert said. “Melo is a terrific scorer, and we try to make everything as tough as possible.”
The Pacers tied the game at 58-58 with 5:22 left in the third on a jump hook from Hibbert, then took their first lead of the night on a 3-pointer from Lance Stephenson one minute later.
Unlike in Game 1, when the Knicks had difficulty negotiating Indiana’s bigger front line, New York were able to attack and convert in the lane in the first half Tuesday. The 6-foot-5 Shumpert was particularly effective, accumulating 11 points to help New York build a 47-42 halftime lead.
With Jason Kidd running the point for the first six minutes of the second quarter, the Knicks displayed the kind of crisp ball movement that was lacking in their series-opening loss. New York had 10 assists in the first half of Game 2, 20 on the night. In Game 1, the Knicks totaled just 15.
“I think the difference for us tonight was our ball movement,” Chandler said. “We finally fell into a rhythm. Our whole thing is to wear them down.”
The Pacers pulled to within 39-34, but an 8-0 Knicks run extended New York’s lead to 47-34 with 3:47 remaining in the second. Kenyon Martin contributed four points in the burst with two layups.
The Pacers were out of sync in their half-court sets for the majority of the first half, turning the ball over 11 times. George scored 15 points, including six in an 8-0 Pacers run to end the half.
The Knicks began with a tightened defense, forcing seven first-quarter turnovers and picking up three steals. Raymond Felton was a catalyst, scoring nine points to help New York to a 29-20 lead.
NOTES: The 26-point win is the Knicks’ largest margin of victory in the postseason since April 24, 1992, when they beat the Detroit Pistons 109-75. ... Heading into Game 2 against the Pacers, Anthony was 35-for-110 from the floor in his last four games. ... Indiana forward David West logged his fifth game in the playoffs with a shooting percentage of 50 percent or higher. He hit four of seven shots and scored 13 points. ... Pacers small forward George ranks in the top 20 in the playoffs in points (18.8), rebounds (8.9) and assists (4.9). ... The Knicks expect to have Amar’e Stoudemire, out with a knee injury, back for Game 3 on Saturday.