Post-Game Grades: The Knicks Are Hilarious

Now THAT is a Pacers/Knicks game. Aside from the Pacers being basically terrible for two straight quarters in the middle of the game, you really can’t ask for anything more. We can get to the cajones, resiliency, hustle, will, refuse-to-lose mentality and all that.

But first … only 8 turnovers … 31 free-throw attempts … 16 offensive rebounds.

Those stats win ball games. The second one is particularly important for Indiana to highlight. They shoot well from the stripe (6th best at 77.7%) and get there a lot (3rd best in the league with 26.0 attempts per night). But on nights they fall in love with the jumper, they don’t force the action enough to get to the stripe. Tonight, in the fourth quarter, they lived at the line and the result was a 40-to-17 scoring edge in the final period. And when they can blend that with the type of timely three-point accuracy that Danny Granger showed? Yeah, they can pile up points in a hurry.

And as much as this was a great Pacers comeback, let’s not forget that it was an epic Knicks collapse. Indiana certainly seemed to be the team that took over, but New York just choked. By the time the regained their footing after playing most of the fourth looking like a wobbly-legged boxer who took a huge left hook to the temple early in round, and Carmelo started to pour it on again, it was too late. The Pacers small-ball bench — a brilliantly effective adjustment by coach Frank Vogel — had the injury-depleted Knicks straight lost. Amundson and Barbosa were really almost as big in this victory in little ways as Granger was in the big-time shot-making way. When he pulled out the Discount Double Check move after his second (or third?) three in the fourth quarter, the Pacers had the momentum of a space shuttle re-entry. And the Knicks just fell back to earth like the Challenger.

I feel like I have been saying this a lot lately, but that is obviously another candidate for best win of the season. Other than the Miami smack-around, the win in Dallas or the win in Chicago, I can’t recall one more important. Certainly not in the sense that this team needs all the confidence and positive reinforcement it can get heading into the playoffs. The stumbles against the Nets and even in Wizards games they’ve won have been disappointing — as was most of March.

But between this win, Sunday’s win in Houston and the nutty finish in the win in the nation’s capital two weeks ago are the types of games that really galvanize a team and teach them that they can win against anyone, anywhere and under any amount of adversity.

Of course, this being the 2011-12 compressed schedule, they play again tomorrow. And it’s again in DC.

To expect anything other than a chaotic finish would be silly.

Here is how each guy played individually tonight. Agree? Disagree? Express your thoughts below in the comments or yell at me (@8pts9secs) or Tim (@TimDonahue8p9s) on Twitter.

David West, PF 24 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS
Didn’t make as much of an impact on the game as you would have liked when he started matched up against Knicks “power” forward Carmelo Anthony.
Danny Granger, 8-16 FG | 6-8 FT | 5-8 3PT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 27 PTS
He scored 14 of his 27 pts in the 4th quarter, including 3 huge treys. The first made the comeback seem real, cutting the lead to 6. The next tied it for the first time in ages. The third gave Indy the lead. He is now 11/16 (61.1%) from behind the arc in his last two thrilling Pacer wins.
Roy Hibbert, C 24 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS
Big fella sat out the best parts of this one. Vogel went with small ball and not even Roy can be at all upset with the results.
Darren Collison, PG 26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS
Also didn’t play late as Hill/Barbosa/George/Granger were Vogel’s perimeter players of choice in winning time.
Paul George, SG 29 MIN | 5-12 FG | 8-10 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS
The 10 FGAs is the most encouraging stat we’ve seen from George in some time. Led to 18 points on just 12 shots even without him making a single three. Very nice. Boards, too.

Dahntay Jones, SG 14 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 6 REB | 12 PTS
Stepped up huge, scoring at a 30.9-point-36-minute rate. Pushed it in transition and is looking like a very nice complement to the Barbosa/Hill back court.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 22 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 12 PTS
Wonderful. Out-scored the Pacers 2011 second-round pice by 12.
Louis Amundson, C 21 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS
Really can’t say enough about his rebounding, energy, intensity and even his passing in the 4th quater. Looked positively Dwight Howard-esque, from an impact standpoint, while surrounded by 4 non-bigs late.
George Hill, SG 28 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 6 PTS
Even without many numbers to speak of, did nice work helping the team mount the comeback and put the Knicks away.
Tyler Hansbrough, PF 15 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS
Another tough shooting night and got absolutely bullied by Carmelo at times. HIt the glass well at least.

Topics: New York Knicks, Post-Game Grades

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  • NoLookPass

    What an amazing choke by the Knicks! We somehow shot just 9 FT over the first 3 quarters then somehow managed 22 in the 4th making 17 of them to match NY’s total points in the quarter. Melo got 12 in the 4th but the other Knicks could only add in 5 points in quarter.

    The play that highlighted the NY collapse to me was when two Knicks had a easy rebound all alone and knocked it from each other back to Lou who put it in for an easy two points. We played well, but it seemed like they just totally self-destructed. They missed wide open shots, missed FT’s, made careless TO, committed lazy fouls and totally forgot how to rebound.

  • Realist

    BOOM BABY. Can’t wait to get home from work and watch this replay on League Pass. Pacers back into 3rd btw. Hmmmmm

  • NoLookPass

    One negative I have is what happens if the cold shooting DG33 comes back? Our last 3 wins we have been down double figures in the second half and in those games he’s shooting 27-of-51 53% and a amazing 14-of-21 66.7% from downtown. If he doesn’t bail us out we could be riding a 5 game losing streak easy.

  • dwain

    exactly Realist, 3rd place over the slumping Magic! got to echo Jared on Lou and Barbosa, i think they pulled this one out of the fire for the Pacers, Barbosa in particular played his azz off, saved balls from going out of bounds, fought for rebounds, played decent defense and most importantly…made himself available for a great pass for a layup. Gotta say i can now see what LB saw in him and man did we need it tonight…
    through the dog days of the 2nd and 3rd quarter, the Pacer offense stunk up the place…no energy no heart and mainly no one was on the same page, somehow these guys got to come up with the same ideas at the same time…some sorta group think where they all understand what each other is going to do…there were people open for passes that never got made(Roy with his back to the basket and Granger standing alone underneath it) there were fast breaks with guys in utterly the wrong place to be passed the ball(spacing anyone?) and again it looked like a bunch a tired legs all waiting for someone else to do it.
    God love DC but the guy can not pass the ball, it’s late or telegraphed or just in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is amazing that George was able to put that misplaced lob of the glass into the basket.
    i was exhausted after this game…it felt like i played it…please Pacers for the sake of us geezer fans…lets have some nice easy wins….u know wire to wire wins over OK and Celts by 20 points at least

    great win nonetheless and u are in 3rd place because of that effort in the 4th Pacers!!!!

    Go Pacers!!!!…man the idea of Reggie takin’ over the helm has me drooling

  • other mike

    Friday night. OKC. Home team possibly 3rd in east. No excuses – lets see a sell out!

    tickets are hot on Stub-hub, so I have a good feeling the demand is there, looking for that playoff atmosphere and a big win.

  • little B

    First I want to make a comment to those people who don’t have season tickets: It is my first year and the Blue and Gold party for full season ticket holders is worth the season tickets themselves. Free booze, free food, and oh yeah you get to be face to face with everyone on the Pacers team. I talked to Vogel for like 10 minutes (great guy and love his goofy smile). Next year I will go prepared and get an autographed jersey from everyone. (Ps Fesenko is a nut)

    Ok as for the game: Referring to NoLookPass: You are right about Danny being on fire, but if you look at his season numbers compared to his career numbers, his shooting percentage is still down, so all we can hope for is he gets it back to that almost %44 by the end of the season, because that means he will just keep lighting it up. I didn’t see as many “bad” shots from Danny last night, and I think that’s why his percentage is up. Hopefully he has figured it out and he only needs to shoot contested shots on this team when him and PG pass the ball back and forth when the shot clock is about to expire and Danny ends up drilling a 3 off balance…amazing.
    I want to give props to Vogel. All year it seemed as if he had a set time when each player would come in/out of the game. It looked as he was going to continue it, but then he changed it in the 4th quarter last night when he put that squad out there and they just manhandled the Knicks. I looked out there and was like who the hell do we have on the court. Then Whammy in 3 minutes the Pacers were within 4.
    I still am not sure why Vogel waits until the 4th quarter to put PG or DG on the best player on the other team(did it with CHI, MIA). I assume it is because PG still makes some stupid fouls so he waits til the end to make sure he can make it the whole game, but it was pretty clear something needed done to guard Anthony last night. Worked out but I think Anthony could have been slowed down sooner if Danny was on him earlier. Oh well the Pacers won.
    I was impressed with the noise level last night. Hell it was loud for the Finish-line giveaway, and that was when the Pacers were sucking it up. I can feel the Pacers fans our starting to come around. I think they played a big part in that comeback last night. There was so much energy in that place even when they got it down to a 10 point defecit. I felt like everyone was just waiting for the Pacers to get on a run. The fans didn’t wait til they Pacers got to within like 6 or 7. They were going crazy when they got with 12 or 13 right when the fourth started. I think the fans are starting to BELIEVE. Now just don’t lose against the Wiz tonight Pacers.

  • Sam

    First-time reader, possibly last-time reader. Liked most of what you wrote, but …

    The Challenger comment is in incredibly poor taste. There are a lot of things that can be mentioned with a joking “too soon?,” but that isn’t one of them. There is nothing funny or amusing or clever about the analogy, and it exposes either a complete disregard for decency or a very limited writing ability, or both.

    I hope you recognize your error and come up with something more intelligent and entertaining to replace that comment.

  • Realist

    Challenger comment was fine and has nothing to do with a disregard for decency.

    As a long-time reader I can assure you his writing ability is also fine.

  • Jesse

    @othermike (or anyone else) I’m driving down from Michigan and will be at the game on Friday–does anyone know the prospects on slipping down into a lower, available seat? We bought 1st row seats in the upper deck, but I know there will be empties in the club…

  • Mike

    Great game. Great to see us come back and win so many of these games late. Reminds me of the 61-win team.

    And let’s not talk about “what ifs” with Granger. Dude is hot right now. And that unit on the floor in the fourth was great. Lots of energy, hustle and willingness to win. Not saying the starters (DC and Roy) don’t have that, but it seems like sometimes they get caught going through the motions instead of just going out there and hoopin’.

  • little B

    @ Jesse,
    Well you should be able to get lower level seats pretty easily. They have a ton of tickets left for them game. They have been giving away free food, shirts, and a ticket to the game if you donate blood around here all week. They are actually doing it at the Fieldhouse on Friday from like 11-3. Great deal. Will be a great game too.

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