Pacer Rookies Rip Knicks in 4th. Indiana 109 NY 100

Hold off on that 50+ win prediction for the Knicks this year; we’ll have to see a few more games first.

The Knicks led big early, but Indiana kept cutting into their lead, until the 4th quarter when rookies Bennedict Mathurin (the #6 pick in the 2022 draft) and Andrew Nembhard (#31 pick) took over — carrying the Pacers to the win in Indiana.

The rookies outplayed the Knicks bench, as Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride couldn’t hit their shots and Cam Reddish was mostly horrible except for one short burst — with poor decision making and bad shot selection.

The good news is that coach Tom Thibodeau seemed more interested in seeing how his players were playing together than winning this game. He did not bring in RJ Barrett and Julius Randle late — he kept the reserves in.

NY falls to 2-1 in the pre-season, having beaten Indiana easily 4 days ago at Madison Square Garden.


1. Barrett Had Strong Game

RJ Barrett was the star of this game for the Knicks. He dominated in the 1st half, and didn’t play much in the 2nd half as Thibodeau was examining the rest of the team. Barrett had Strong drives to the bucket all night and was efficient on his attempts.

Barrett had 21 points in 27 minutes, on 7-14 shooting from the floor, although only 1-5 from 3. He was 6-7 from the free throw line and had a +13.

Jalen Brunson played well enough, although he seemed to force things a bit at times.

2. Randle Played Well & Under Control

Julius Randle played well — helping the Knicks dominate in the 1st half and not playing in the 4th quarter. He was having his way inside, and hitting turnaround jumpers. He finished an efficient 5-10 (3-6 from 3) for 13 points in 25 minutes and a +11.

3. Mitch a Beast

Mitchell Robinson was a Beast inside — grabbing offensive rebounds for putback slams. He played like the biggest guy on the court. He had 8 points and 8 rebounds, 4 blocks in 23 minutes for a +13.

4. Hartenstein & Toppin OK

Isaiah Hartenstein filled up the stat sheet but wasn’t as dominate as Mitch. He contested for a lot of rebounds that the other guys seemed to come down with — yet finished with 10 rebounds in 23 minutes so maybe he was contesting for boards another center would have not even contested for.

Hartenstein is a passing center who can hit the 3 and he showed that. On one play he hit Obi Toppin with a full court football pass for a dunk.

Obi Toppin played well enough but did not dominate — 8 points on 4-7 shooting. He hit some slams but missed all his 3’s (0-3 from 3). Like the whole 2nd team, he had a -20 in 23 minutes.

5. Reddish Out of Sorts

Cam Reddish played with the 2nd team and was horrible — a key ingredient for why the 2nd team played poorly and the Knicks lost this game. He made bad decisions, took bad shots, and seemed to control the ball too much in trying to make something good happen when he was out there.

And then all of a sudden he hit a 3, intercepted a pass, and hit a drive and you saw the skills in the 6’8 forward. But then it was back to another bad decision.

6. Indiana Has Fine Young Rooks

The story of the night in general was the play of #6 pick in the draft Benedict Mathurin, the athletic 6’6 guard and #6 pick in the June draft out of Arizona. He dominated the action in the 2nd half, finishing with 27 points on 8-13 shooting and 11-12 from the free throw line.

As basketball analyst Ross Kreines noted on Twitter, “Benedict Mathurin does a great job catching in triple-threat, sells a shot fake, jab step and then uses his quick 1st step and ability to finish at the rim or create contact. Also, does a good job using screens on one end and on the other end, he does a good job hedging over screens.”

6’5 point guard Andrew Nembhard also looked very good — orchestrating the action and hitting his mid range jumper for 15 points on 6-12 shooting with 9 assists in 26 minutes.

The two outshone the Knicks backcourt of Immanuel Quickley and Deuce McBride in the 4th. Mathurim and Nembhard were bigger than the Knick backcourt, and Quickley (4 for 18) and McBride (1-6) had bad shooting nights as well.


  • After the game, Buddy Hield started trending on Twitter, with Indiana fans suggesting a trade of him and Myles Turner to the Lakers to free up playing time for Mathurin.
  • Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana’s starting point guard, and a player the Knicks passed on when they selected Obi Toppin in the 2020 draft — didn’t play.

The Boxscore

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