Rapid Reaction: Knicks 90, Pacers 80

WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks and Celtics will tangle once again.

New York beat the Indiana Pacers 90-80 on Sunday to clinch the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

The win sets up a first-round matchup with the seventh-seeeded Boston Celtics, their long-time rival. The Celtics swept the Knicks in the 2011 playoffs.

New York won the season series with Boston this year though, beating the Celts in three of four games.

Sewing up the second seed also guarantees that the Knicks will have home-court through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

THREE-DICULOUS: The Knicks relied on a balanced attack to beat Indiana on Sunday. Four players were in double figures; New York also took advantage of hot shooting from beyond the arc.

The Knicks hit five of their first nine 3s to take a 20-point lead in the second quarter. Indy cut it to seven at halftime and trailed by single digits for much of the second half, but New York hit three 3-pointers early in the fourth to maintain control.

MIFFED MELO: Carmelo Anthony was beat up by Indiana on Sunday afternoon in what could be a preview for the Knicks star forward if these teams meet in the postseason.

Anthony appeared to get hit in the midsection by David West in the third quarter and was hit across the arm by Sam Young. He winced after both incidents. Anthony, who shot 9-for-23 from the floor, also may have suffered a left shoulder injury.

He seemed to be frustrated at times and picked up a technical foul for arguing in the third quarter. Anthony has 14 technicals, two shy of an automatic one-game suspension. But there are only two games left in the regular season, so it's academic at this point.

COPING MECHANISM: Chris Copeland continued his recent run of strong play with 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting off the bench. J.R. Smith had 15 and Iman Shumpert added 10.

Shumpert drew a flagrant foul on Indy center Roy Hibbert in the third when Hibbert raked Shumpert across the neck on a drive.

BROOK-LYN!: Brooklyn's Lance Stephenson had a game-high 22 for Indiana. Stephenson won four PSAL championships on the Madison Square Garden floor at Lincoln High. ... The Pacers outrebounded the Knicks, 45-32.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks will travel to Charlotte to take on the Bobcats before wrapping up the regular season against Atlanta.

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