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Knicks 138, Pacers 129: Scenes from what lies beneath

New York turns to its great depths to again reach great heights

NBA: New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks’ “I’m Spartacus!” season kept on keeping on with a 138-129 win over the bad-but-not-this-bad Indiana Pacers. New York was without Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett heading into a game that meant nothing to their station; they know they’re opening the playoffs in Cleveland. So what happened? One guy after another stepped up, with three Knicks — Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes — scoring 30+ in the same game for the first time since 1979 was a year and not a song.

Everyone played a part. Mitchell Robinson had as aggressive an offensive first quarter as I can remember from him, scoring nine in the frame; he also blocked seven shots and smacked away another handful that didn’t count. Josh Hart stepped into the starting lineup and grabbed a dozen rebounds. The Pacers were without Tyrese Haliburton. They were also without three or four good players who aren’t here yet, players they hope arrive in the near-future to help them return to relevance.

The win was the Knicks’ fifth and put them a season-high 14 games over .500. That’s all well and good, but if you’re really into Knicks esoterica, here’s something for ya: if the Knicks win their last two games they’ll have 49 for the year. That would be the most by a Knick team that didn’t feature Patrick Ewing or a teammate of Ewing’s since 1974. Not quite 1979, but close enough.