NEW YORK -- The Knicks and Pacers are in a slugfest with the Knicks going into the half up 42-37.
Here are some quick observations:
Quick start: After sleepwalking in several home games, the Knicks got off to a terrific start. They opened the game with a 13-0 lead. Indiana would get back into the game but the Knicks' start was important because it got them playing defense. Indiana missed its first seven shots and the 'Bockers kept playing defense.
The defensive effort would stay strong throughout the first half as the Knicks held the Pacers to 37 points, 35-percent shooting and 2-for-11 three-point shooting. Paul George had seven points and Roy Hibbert had five points.
Melo aggressive inside: Carmelo Anthony is making his presence felt in the paint. He has 17 points and seven rebounds -- three coming on the offensive glass. He scored one of his baskets posting up George and scoring over him while drawing the foul. He's shooting 7-for-14 so far with just one shot coming from behind the arc.
Without Tyson Chandler, Anthony has to be a presence inside the paint.
J.R. off to a good start: J.R. Smith came off the bench and looked more selective with his shots. He made two-of-his-first-four shots, missing his only three-point attempt, for four points. But he played good defense on the other end, gathering two steals, including stripping Lance Stephenson on one play.
The Knicks need Smith to contribute on both ends and be smart with the shot selection.