Carmelo Anthony was the only Knicks player to score in double figures, and the Indiana Pacers rebounded from a 26-point Game two loss to win Game three of their Eastern Conference semifinals with New York 82-71.
The Pacers now have a 2-1 lead in the series.
After the Pacers lost game 2, head coach Frank Vogel received a lot of criticism for essentially throwing in the towel. The Pacers removed their starters about half-way through the fourth quarter and had moved on, but responded big time in game 3.
Roy Hibbert was an absolute monster in the paint hauling in 12 rebounds, including 8 offensive boards to go along with a game high 24 points. Tyson Chandler was no match for Hibbert in this one. Chandler had just 5 rebounds and 9 points. The Pacers out-rebounded the Knicks 53-40 for the game.
Neither team was particularly effective shooting. Both the Knicks and Pacers shot 35 percent from the floor. Paul George shot 4-17, including 2-12 from 3 and had 14 points. David West was just 4-11 from the field, but made his mark on the glass with 12 rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony was the leading scorer for the Knicks scoring 21 points, but shot 6-16 from the floor.
JR Smith and Jason Kidd continued in their struggles game 3, but Raymond Felton was especially brutal. Felton finished 1-8 shooting for 6 points. He had more turnovers (3), than assists (2). Smith shot 4-12 scoring 9 points, and Jason Kidd was once again scoreless.
Prior to this game, the Knicks averaged 24 three’s per game in the post-season. In game 3, New York shot a season low 11 three’s and made 3 including one from Amar’e Stoudemire who played his first game since March 7th. The Pacers on the other hand were addicted to the three the entire night. Indiana shot an absurd 33 threes.
Looking ahead in this series, the Knicks have to be more consistent offensively. JR Smith has to start hitting shots, and Raymond Felton can’t play as poorly as he did. New York also has to be better on the boards. The Pacers had 18 offensive rounds, to 10 for the Knicks.
As for Indiana, maintaining its defensive intensity is crucial, mainly Paul George against Carmelo Anthony, and Roy Hibbert against Tyson Chandler. If the Pacers can win those two match-ups, Indiana will be in good shape.
Game 4 is set for Tuesday night at 7pm from Indy. The Pacers have a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.