Duarte, a rookie shooting guard, eclipsed his 13.1-point scoring average with 14 in the first quarter, when the Pacers seized control with a 15-2 run. Indiana outscored New York in each of the first three quarters to lead 96-76 and mainatined a double-digit lead from midway through the second quarter until the final buzzer.
“We need to win our fans over and get more people back in the building,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s important to us.”
The struggling Pacers began the night tied with the Detroit Pistons for last in attendance at 13,137 per game. Team management recently met with players to discuss speculative reports about shaking up the roster.
“My name is in a trade rumor every day,” Turner said. “That’s just part of the business.”
The Pacers shot 60% (27 of 45) in the first half. The Knicks shot 47.7% (21 of 44).
“It’s frustrating, but we’ve got to keep moving forward,” Randle said. “It’s just our focus. I think everybody was a little drained. We’ve just got to be mentally tougher to overcome that.”
The Knicks were playing on the road on back-to-back nights after a win at San Antonio on Tuesday. The Pacers had the benefit of one day of rest.
“You just have to have the toughness to get things done,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You’re not going to feel your best every night in this league. That’s part of it.”
Knicks: Toppin made a second-quarter breakaway look like a dunk contest try. While in mid-air, he rotated the ball from his left hand to his right and between his legs before throwing down the slam. ... Randle and Barrett scored 18 of the team’s first 31 points. ... Dropped to 7-5 on the road.
Pacers: Sabonis was floored after taking Randle's elbow to the throat in the second quarter. A review upheld no call. ... Scored 70 first-half points for the fifth time this season. ... Improved to 8-6 at home.
Knicks: At Toronto on Friday night.
Pacers: Host Dallas on Friday night.
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