Here are three quick hits from the first half of the Knicks-Pacers game:
OFFENSE, OFFENSE AND MORE OFFENSE!: Friday’s game featured a suffocating Knicks defense that held the Pacers to 31 first-half points. Tonight, Indiana matched that figure with 1:45 left in the first quarter. Fortunately for the Knicks, their offense kept pace, and the quarter ended with Indy leading 35-33.
The Knicks offense kept it up in the second quarter, but Indiana couldn’t keep pace. A 27-16 quarter for New York sent them to the locker room up nine.
DOMINANT BENCH PLAY: Kick started by a pair of J.R. Smith threes, the Knicks reserves came in and completely changed the tone of the game, outscoring the Pacers bench 24-11. Active play led to wide open shots at the offensive end, and a return to the defensive dominance exhibited over the first three quarters of Friday night’s game.
It was 26-19 Pacers when Smith hit his first three. By the time the starters returned in the second quarter, the Knicks had opened up a 12-point lead.
STARTERS FOLLOWING THE BENCH’S LEAD: When the starters returned with about five minutes to go in the second quarter, it was with a considerably more aggressive demeanor. Indy cut into the lead slightly, but the Knicks remained the more active, aggressive team.
If the starting five can match the bench’s intensity, New York is in excellent position to put this game away in the third quarter.