Knicks Get a Little Bit of Payback. NY 121 Indiana 91

The Knicks got a little bit of payback for the drudging they took on Mother’s Day 2 days earlier, when Indiana crushed them 121-89 in Indiana to even the best-of-7 playoff series at 2-2.

NY came out like a different team — renewed with energy and decisiveness — hitting rhythm 3’s, murdering Indiana on the boards for unending 2nd-shot opportunities, and grabbing every loose ball — in a blowout win at Madison Square Garden by an almost identical score but flipped the other way — NY 121 Indiana 91.

Jalen Brunson led the charge — looking like his ankle was A-OK. He scored 44 points on 18-35 shooting. Miles McBride was an attack dog — scoring 17 and neutralizing Tyrese Haliburton, who was questionable before game time with a bad back, and played like it — 13 points in 32 minutes.

Isaiah Hartenstein DOMINATED the boards — both on the offensive side and defensive side. iHeart had 17 rebounds — 12 of them offensive boards, as he outplayed Myles Turner up front.

Josh Hart was everywhere, Donte DiVincenzo played frenetic defense and skied for the slam of the playoffs, and Alec Burks came off the bench to play a hero’s role again with 18 pts on 6-11 shooting (5-8 from 3).

The Knicks now lead the series 3-2 but the payback isn’t over — they still need to win one more game to advance to the Conference Finals — to not just pay back Indiana, but all of the talking heads on media who spent the prior 2 games SMASHING the team — blaming Tom Thibodeau for the injuries, calling the team a “fluke” as Draymond Green did, or openly rooting for NY to lose, as has been the case with Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal.

“We still need one more win,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “We can’t be too excited about it. We have to understand what we need to do — stay focused on the task at hand. If you feel good about yourself you get knocked down in this league. You gotta be ready to go.”

“I thought Isaiah was phenomenal,” added Thibs. “Everyone — it was a great team effort but Isaiah in particular; those extra possessions were huge for us. I thought we got great production — obviously what Deuce did was huge, just to be ready to step in; and then Precious and Alec were really, really good for us off the bench. And Jalen of course was Jalen and Josh was Josh. Our defense was good; our rebounding was good; taking care of the ball was good. But we’ll have to be better in this next one.”

1. NY Comes Out Attacking: Indiana Attacks Back

NY came out attacking with energy, looking like a different team than the tired-looking team of game 4.  But Indiana matched the energy, and took a 20-14 lead off scores by Myles Turner, T.J. McConnell, and an Obi Toppin drive.

2. McBride Energizes NY at End of 1st Quarter

But the Knicks notched their attack up a level on the play of Miles McBride on both sides of the court. McBride hit a drive, then hit Josh Hart for consecutive passes for scores, and then another drive and NY was up 31-25 with 2:11 left in the quarter.

The game had changed course — for good.

On the defensive end, McBride locked down Haliburton.

3. Knicks Go Up by 18 Pts in 2nd Quarter

The Knicks kept up the relentless attack in the 2nd — Brunson with a drive then a Precious Achiuwa block of an Aaron Nesmith drive, leading to a DiVincenzo ahead-of-the-field slam and NY was up by 10 pts.

Isaiah Hartenstein was attacking the boards on both offense and defense, setting screens and picks to free up shooters, and finding men with passes out of the block.

Isaiah Hartenstein having an early impact by simply bringing big time effort, activity and his hardhat,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “His activity on the offensive glass is giving the Knicks 2nd chance opportunities, setting screens to create space for others, defending, finding the open man and competing.”

Tempers started to flare — Isaiah Hartenstein and Isaiah Jackson got into it — and both were called for technical fouls, as was Alec Burks.

The Knicks continued on the attack — with Jalen Brunson scoring, and scoring, and scoring some more every which way. Brunson was in his bag.

Alec Burks and Miles McBride joined him.

NY went up by 18 points on a Josh Hart drive — 65-47 with 2:11 left. Indiana was down 15 at the half.

4. Turner Hits Three 3’s in Row to Start 3rd

Then at the start of the 3rd, after Isaiah Hartenstein hit 1 of 2 free throws to start the period, Myles Turner hit 3 consecutive 3’s in 3 times down the court — and Indiana was down by only 7 just like that. NY 70 Indiana 63.

5. Knicks Go on 19-1 Run to Go Up 25; Tempers Flare

But NY responded — amping up the defense — and blew Indiana off the court with a 19-1 run.

  • Divo hit a drive;
  • Hart hit a drive;
  • McBride hit a 3;
  • Brunson hit a 3;
  • McBride dunked off a Divo pass ahead of the field;

  • Divo came out of nowhere for a put-back SLAM — the dunk of the game.

More Tempers Flare

Tempers flared — with Donte DiVincenzo and Myles Turner getting into a heated confrontation. Both were hit with technicals.

The Knicks continued their run:

  • Burks came in and hit free throws;
  • Josh Hart hit a drive and NY was up 25 — 89-64 with 3:13 left in the 3rd — a 19-1 run.

Hartenstein POUNDS the Boards

In between all that, Hartenstein was POUNDING the boards for offensive rebounds and 2nd chance opportunities for NY. Josh Hart was grabbing ones he didn’t get.

“Players like Josh Hart and Isaiah Hartenstein don’t need plays called for them to stay engaged,” enthused NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Also it’s no accident that they find themselves in the right position to get rebounds, 50/50 balls, easy buckets, deflections and blocks from their relentless will and pursuit.”

6. Burks & Brunson Shoot Down Indiana Comeback Attempt

Finally Nesmith hit a 3 to end the run. Indiana regrouped and tried to get back in the game — with Haliburton hitting consecutive drives. But Alec Burks countered with a 3 and NY had a 96-75 lead entering the 4th.

Indiana attempted a comeback at start of the 4th — Pascal Siakam with a drive-and-1 followed by a T.J. McConnell drive-and-1 and then a Siakam 3 — 9 straight points and Indiana was down by 12.

But Alec Burks hit a Huge 3, and then, after a Siakam drive, Jalen Brunson went back to work with back-to-back floaters and a drive to put NY back up by 17, at 105-86.

NY’s DEFENSE intensified — Indiana went 4.5 minutes without scoring; stuck on 86 — from Siakam’s drive with 9:45 left, until a Haliburton drive with 5:16 left. By that time NY had a 109-88 lead.

And then Alec Burks hit another 3. NY up 112-84 with just over 4 minutes left.

7. Indiana Waves White Flag with 3:30 Left

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle raised the white flag with 3:30 left, bringing in the 3rd team that includes former Knick Doug McDermott.

Thibs responded in kind, bringing in Shake Milton, DaQuan Jeffries, Mamadi Diakite, and Jericho Sims to finish it out.

Josh Hart fiinished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block.


Madison Square Garden was ELECTRIC all evening — the place to be in all of sports in all the world.

Former Knicks were all over the stadium, supporting the current team — especially John Starks and Stephon Marbury who were on the sidelines rooting the Knicks on like they were their dads.

Former Knicks at the game include Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, John Starks, Stephon Marbury, Latrell Sprewell, Larry Johnson, Alan Houston, Bill Bradley, Carmelo Anthony, Kyle O’Quinn, and Herb Williams.


The Boxscore

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