Nov 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) and New York Knicks power forward Kenyon Martin (3) scramble for a loose ball in front of Knicks point guard Beno Udrih (18) during the overtime period at Madison Square Garden. The Pacers defeated the Knicks 103-96 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers Outlast New York Knicks

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Nov 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) shoots a three-point shot during the overtime period of a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The Pacers defeated the Knicks 103-96 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

That title is the best way to describe last night’s game between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers.  This was a game that reminded of the “old days” of this series.  Two teams battling hard to the final buzzer.  You had the superstar efforts in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.  You had some hard fouls in the paint.  Guys looked to be going after every loose ball.  The New York Knicks came out strong at the start of the game and raced out to the 13-0 lead.  The Knicks had this game for most of the way until the Pacers were able to get going in that final quarter.  Once again, the second half proved to be the place where the Pacers got their act together, and worked out another victory.  But last night’s game almost made me believe more in this rivalry.  Here’s a tweet I threw out towards the end of last night’s game from our account @BoomBabyAMT.

It’s a cool feeling to see that both teams were playing as hard as they were in last night’s game. It was only the 11th game of the season, but with the way it was going, you would have thought it was the first game of a playoff series. It adds that element of excitement to the regular season meetings when both teams are bringing as much effort as they did. The Pacers had to up their game to match the Knicks as the Knicks were in that desperate mode for a win. They’re 3-8 on the season after the loss, and now have to search for those answers as to why they let last night’s game slip away.

On the Pacers’ side, there’s one answer you can throw out there. Paul George. Paul George saved his best for last as he lit it up in that second half. The shooting might not have been pretty, but he was working so hard on Carmelo Anthony defensively, it’s not a surprise that the shooting would suffer. Both guys were just working for every shot they were taking. But George got the better of Anthony in that second half. He had 26 points at one point in the second half, and if this wasn’t his coming out party, this was a party to be himself in that Most Valuable Player discussion. It’s not a question now after the way Paul George put this Pacers team on his back, and carried them to the victory.

The Pacers are probably down double figures if Paul George isn’t able to come around with his 35 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Plus throw in the defensive effort of guarding Carmelo Anthony. Then, throw in to do this on the grand stage of Madison Square Garden, while the game is televised on ESPN. I don’t think the announcers built it up enough, but Paul George established himself as a legit MVP candidate. There was a smattering of “MVP” chants when Carmelo Anthony was on the free throw line at one point, but those chants were misguided.

This was a great win for the Indiana Pacers as they were able to “work through the process”, if I can steal a line from the other professional sports team in town, the Indianapolis Colts. You had Coach Frank Vogel imploring his guys to keep going. I don’t think he’s ever said a bad thing about the Pacers, and if he has, I am sure it wasn’t broadcast anywhere. But Vogel is that eternal optimist for this team that they truly needed. It’s showing that his style was the fit for this team, and now they’re going out with that confidence of winning every night. Paul George had that look last night, and now the Pacers can continue this “Blue Collar, Gold Swagger” for the rest of the season. On to Boston for an evening with the Celtics. The Pacers have to come ready to go for that one as the Celtics have already knocked off the Miami Heat. What performance will Paul George and the Pacers have up their sleeves Friday night?

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