The Knicks got up early but the Pacers just frolicked their merry selves back into it. After some clean passing and lariat shot-making, everyone decided to start turning the ball over. Derrick Rose was back, but seemed rusty, and there was too much uncertainty in his flailed advances in the first half. Nevertheless, New York had the early advantage.
Then Al Jefferson just started shuffling around the floor nailing a wide array of flippers and slippers. Thankfully Brandon Jennings made something of his minutes and just started bugging out. It got Kyle O’Quinn rocking, slumped a few Pacers on both ends and energized his teammates a little bit. Courtney Lee stunted Jefferson before he could get all the way across the lane and suddenly the second unit had it humming.
As both teams brought their starters back to the floor, New York initiated their patented float-some-careless-passes offense. It’s been their calling card for several seasons, and a series of coaches and it upended an otherwise reasonable set of defensive efforts and adjustments. The whole game was slipping away from them.
Saw this at half time. Here’s a couple of good eggs.
In the third quarter Indiana started getting to the line repeatedly. Some on dubious calls, some were courtesy of Knicks lurching after bad team defense. The Pacers started to assert themselves and then the game just completely opened up for them. They finished 27-33, while the Knicks were 17-21 at the stripe. Simple pick and rolls or post ups led to a bevy of open looks. It looked something like this:
PG drives and kicks it out to Thad for three. pic.twitter.com/kshdccp6aW— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) December 21, 2016
Despite getting down by nearly 20, the Knicks didn’t want to just disappear. The Pacers three-pointers started to dry up and the Knick guards made an effort to rocket in for the long rebounds. Then they started attacking with gusto. Carmelo shoveled in 15 points in the third and started the fourth because Jeff Hornacek needed a hot hand to feed. Melo forced it a little bit but got some rest as his teammates came in fully galvanized by his exploits. This is the one that got him back in the kitchen:
Kyle O’Quinn continued to be a roller coaster ride and this was your feet in the air:
With Melo on the bench, the Knicks got a huge burst from Kristaps and Co. including this Brandon Jennings inbound heist and Porzingis pop.
Kristaps and Carmelo unloaded on Indiana throughout the fourth. At one point they either hit five triples in a row or the fervor of each connection just carried the energy through to the next make. Their perimeter prowess unlocked the paint and Derrick Rose found his way to the hoop a few times. The Knicks trio scored 32 of the team’s 34 points in the fourth quarter. That’s how you comeback without faking the funk, even Joakim Noah was rocking. The one and only Zach Diluzio has your recap coming soon. Wild.