The Indiana Pacers out-rebounded the New York Knicks 44-30 en-route to winning Game one of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals 102-95. The Knicks have never won a playoff series after losing game one at home in the team’s history.
For New York, Carmelo Anthony scored a game high 27 points, but finished the game shooting 10/28 from the field. Carmelo shot, and shot some more. Anthony took 3 more shots than the other 4 players in the Knicks starting lineup took combined, even while missing the majority of the third quarter in foul trouble.
The third quarter was the difference in the game. With Melo on the bench, the Pacers outscored the Knicks 29-19 and had a 16-point lead heading into the final period.
JR Smith also had a poor shooting game and continues to struggle ever since he elbowed Jason Terry in the previous series against the Celtics. Smith scored 17 points on just 4/15 from the field.
David West scored a team high 20 points for the Pacers, and Paul George had 19 points in the win. The x-factor in this game was D.J. Augustin who came off the bench to score 16 points including four 3’s. Augustin provided a major spark off the bench.
Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson had a monster game, hauling in a game high 13 rebounds. Stephenson’s plus-17 was the best plus-minus ratio for any player in game 1. Roy Hibbert was a force in the paint scoring 14 points and adding a game high 5 blocks.
The Pacers played with much more composure than the Knicks in this game. New York complained after almost every call, and the crowd was consistently chanting, “These Refs Suck.” The Knicks weren’t as effective as they would like from the 3-point line shooting 7-19 on the afternoon. The story of the Knicks season has been if they make their 3’s they win, if they don’t, it’s going to be tough for them to win.
As the series moves on, it’s going to be crucial for the Knicks to stay focused and not be so worried about the refs. New York needs to be more concerned executing offensively and defensively. Carmelo must be more effective and drive to the basket instead of settling for fade away jumpers.
Game 2 is set for Tuesday night from Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is set for 7pm.