Pacers 40, Knicks 17
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 40 MIN | 17-31 FG | 4-5 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 39 PTS | -7
Melo was in straight up NBA ’95 mode for most of the night, with mid range darts and dastardly drives the decisive brushstrokes of a true masterpiece…. Until the hanging nails came straight out the wall, and Melo reverted to that generic store brand of iso-ball — the cheaply-made kind that prolongs a loss rather than assure a win. He was also pretty inconsistent on D, allowing guys to slip right past him for offensive boards, and letting Danny Granger — though Shumpert was equally at fault here — keep his own heat stoked.
But that’s not what I came here to talk about. The biggest Melo moment– to which many of you are probably privy – came in the second half, when the Knick forward passed some guy named Walter Frazier on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Now, I’ve personally never heard of this Frazier cat. But I do know that the guy currently ahead of Melo is kind of a big deal. Name’s Porter. Terry Porter. Told you. Big deal.
|Landry Fields, G 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +6
I’ll come clean. When Landry hit that first corner three, and then followed it up a few minutes later with a pair of free throws — as in two, all consecutive like — I took off my pants. Only for a second, though. Promise. Weirdly, despite a solid start at both ends of the slab, Landry’s ass was festooned to the bench for most of the second half, and only got the cold-legged summons with Indiana buckled in the driver’s seat. Luckily, Woodson won’t have to choose J.R. Smith over Fields down the stretch of the next game, because J.R. Smith was a colossal dumbass. More on that later.
|Tyson Chandler, C 40 MIN | 3-5 FG | 6-11 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -2
Free throw and pass-catching woes aside, Chandler did a pretty outstanding job keeping Hibbert – whose most impactful buckets came on absurd shot-clock beaters and off-balance jumpers – from wreaking any kind of offensive havoc. More importantly, Tyson’s defensive rotations were instrumental in forcing many an early Pacer cough-up. But he was also partially liable for some of the absurd glass-pounding administered by the Pacers during the second half…….. Y’all can just tweet me your death threats.
|Baron Davis, PG 29 MIN | 2-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | -8
I often wonder how many times Davis’ parental units used the phrase “JESUS BARON, WOULD YOU KNOCK THAT CRAP OFF?” growing up. I’ve since settled on “somewhere between one hundred and fifty thousand.” In the same way that Anthony Davis’ performance in the NCAA championship proved you can have an enormous impact on a basketball game without scoring much at all, tonight a different Davis — one whose facial hair issues have gone from “charming calling card” to “the wildlife nesting inside is probably slowing him down” — proved you can have a truly terrible basketball game, and it will be reflected in the box score with 100% accuracy. There were simply too many blunders to name, but suffice it to say most of them involved passes that more closely resembled a small child tossing a baby duckling into the air, only to realize that baby ducks actually don’t fly, let alone in the direction you want them to.
|Iman Shumpert, G 37 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | 27 GSPM | -14
Boy, do I feel like a twit for writing THIS! Shumpert’s game wasn’t equal opportunity offensive in the way Baron’s was; his catalyst D was hounding in spurts, and he again showed restraint with his offensive decision-making. But he also lost track of Granger about three too many times in the second half, on a night when the Pacer’s Captain — who, let’s face it, has an offensive game about as dynamic as a toaster oven — was locked in like Galileo. By the way, that GSPM stands for gallons of sweat per minute. Just felt like it was about time his contribution was acknowledged. Seriously though, he might have a thyroid issue.
|Mike Bibby, PG 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -1
By far Blobster Bibb’s best moment – which also happens to double as the most fascinating case of rigor mortis ever recorded – came when he blocked a layup attempt by Leandro Barbosa, a living human being boasting roughly 60 times the vertical.
|Steve Novak, SF 13 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -8
Burying that buzzer beater at the end of the first was colossal, momentum wise. Unfortunately, the next few minutes were wrought with examples of why Novak’s is the emergency breakdown lane, with saving a ball under Indy’s basket and taking a charge by basically trying to run in the opposite direction being the real highlights. But by far his most unlikely contribution came with his two blocks, which I will now re-enact by stretching to knock two jars of garlic salt off of this spice rack.
|J.R. Smith, SG 29 MIN | 3-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -6
You know it was only a matter of time before the more benign boners morphed — if only for a moment — into one of violent rage. The choke job all but complete, Smith reacted to a missed shot by taking both arms and throwing Leandro Barbosa to the floor like a sack of sorghum. The resulting Flagrant 2 means Smith will likely be enjoying Thursday’s date with the Magic — a team you know wants to feed us to a woodchipper — from the sidelines. Mostly because there are no houses of ill repute in Orlando. It’s Disney World, man.
Anyway, Smith was decent in spurts, man-crashed the boards, and hit a couple of timely buckets. Also, his four assists – all of them perfectly timed and delivered – beat his previous career best by 15. Which means a “FACILITATOR” face tattoo can’t be far behind.
|Toney Douglas, PG 15 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +4
I know, we all went bananas when TD hit that first three — a 25-footer he could only find the courage to hoist after taking enough time to listen to both sides of Bitches Brew. After that, his claim to fame became his aiding and abetting perhaps the worst Knick rotation of the season. We’re happy he’s getting minutes, but kinda sorta wished it didn’t have to be, like, in an actual game.
|Josh Harrellson, F 9 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -4
Admit it, when you saw Jorts and one time Poplar Bluff High School Muskrat King Tyler Hansbrough square off for that second quarter jump ball, you expected this. Admit it, when Harrellson’s first 16-foot baseline turnaround jumper hit nothin’ but nylon, you wanted him to shoot it 30 more times. Admit it, that’s the last time you’ll ever see a mustache and a protective facemask come that close to touching. Admit it, it kinda turned you on.
Five Things We Saw
- The Pacers grabbed 16 offensive rebounds on 45 misses, a rate that — as was pointed out by my boy Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) — would basically lead the NBA. By a solid 10 points. The Knicks had managed to do a pretty decent job of preventing this kind of systemic meltdown during their recent tear, but just couldn’t find the bodies to throw in front of the Pacers’ board hungry — if otherwise limited — front court.
- The Knicks managed to build their sizable second and third-quarter lead through a nice balance of in-rhythm jumpers (Melo, mostly) and aggressive drives (Melo, mostly). But once Indy started letting their offense fuel their D, the ‘Bockers tightened. And when you’re giving up 40 points in a quarter, as the Knicks did in the final frame, that fuel can be enough to burn a city.
- The Pacer bench was downright incendiary, outscoring the Knick reserves 40-27. It’s far too simplistic to say this is where the game was won, mostly because you just just as easily say that about the offensive rebounds, turnovers (India committed only 8), terrible down the stretch calls (I’m looking at you, Joey), or the fact that Reggie Miller was chosen for the Hall of Fame just days ago. But the fact is their bench brought a better game tonight, on both ends of the floor.
- FUN SQUAD ACID TRIP: Oh man, this TV’s way too close — too many gamma rays. Either that or the couch is using me as a ransom, paying the little men inside who feed me mind pills… Wait, what… what is this? Bibby, Douglas, Novak, Jorts, and Smith are on the court at the same time? Oh man I’m freakin’ out oh man oh man oh man oh man oh man… That stuffed octopus on the mantle, he’s getting pretty mouthy. Mouth. What a $#%^@ up word. Mouth. Mouth. Mouth. Mouth. Prolly wants me to swim in his ink, but the floor mud is a much better habitat. FOR LIZARDS… The Fun Squad is still out there. The Pacers, they keep running past them and leaving chem trails that stab the Knicks but they don’t die they just keep turning it over…. This can’t — maybe TD is really Shumpert and Jorts is Chandler and it just looks like a stache but really it’s the octopus ink! I gotta get rid of that octopus but I can’t touch it. I wonder if I can somehow lasso him with one of my hairs…. Jesus another turnover, this lead’s sure disappearing fast…. It just keeps getting worse, wha…. Bibby’s skeleton is trying to claw out of the skin! Jesus this is terrible, I need to go in the closet….
- No need to pussyfoot around it: That was a crippling, demoralizing, momentum-snuffing, humiliating, pride-squelching, soul-stabbing, horribly-timed loss. Coupled with Milwaukee’s taking care of business last night against the Bullzards, the Knicks’ hold on the 8th and final Playoff seed stands at a paltry game-and-a-half. Fasten your seat belt’s lady’s and degenerates, cuz the Bucks in the mirror are much, much closer than they appear. In fact, they’re getting ready to lay down a steamer right in our back seat.
Beyond his work for KnickerBlogger, Jim is a contributor to the New York Times Off the Dribble NBA blog, ESPN.com, and The Classical. He is currently working on a biography of Robert Silverman, titled "Clownin' and Astoundin.'" Follow him on Twitter @JPCavan.