Knicks Win Another Frenetic-Finish Barnburner. NY 121 Indiana 117

Another Barnburner for the Knicks. Another frenetic finish.

This time against Indiana in the 1st game of the Best-of-7 game 2nd round.

The Knicks were down by 9 points with 10 minutes left in the game, but came back once again with a 5-man gloved team of Defense, Jalen Brunson offense, and Josh Hart and OG Anunoby clutch defensive plays and key rebounds.

In the end it was Donte DiVincenzo hitting a Huge 3 to break a 115-all tie with 40 seconds left that put the Knicks ahead for good.

In the final frenetic, see-saw, heart-attack 40 seconds:

  • Pascal Siakam scored off a broken play to pull Indiana within 1 with 26 seconds left,
  • On the inbounds, Andrew Nembhard kicked the ball out of bounds but the refs ruled it off Brunson with 22 seconds left. The Knicks challenged and won, so regained possession.
  • On the next play, Indiana pressured Brunson on the baseline, and out of room, he threw the ball off Nembhard while falling out of bounds — but the refs ruled the ball off Brunson.
  • Indiana had the ball down a point with 15 seconds left, but Myles Turner set a moving pick on Donte DiVincenzo at mid-court, called by the refs as DiVo fell to the ground. Indiana challenged but lost the challenge.
  • Indiana then fouled NY — off the ball — on the in-bounds play — Jalen Brunson getting a free throw and NY getting the ball back.
  • Indiana then purposely fouled Brunson to stop the clock, and he hit both clutch free throws to put NY up 4 with 10 seconds left — and NY had the win.

On a Monday night at a crazy loud Madison Square Garden.

Brunson was 14-14 from the free throw line in the game, and scored 43 points on 14-26 shooting (1-4 from 3), while his counterpart Tyrese Haliburton had 6 points on 2-6 shooting.

NY’s starters Hart (48 minutes), Brunson (44 minutes), DiVincenzo (44 minutes), Anunoby (42 minutes), and Hartenstein (36 minutes) played almost the entire game each. Mitchell Robinson spelled Hartenstein for 12 minutes off the bench; Miles McBride played 9 minutes and Precious Achiuwa played 5 minutes.

“You always put the team first. Whatever’s necessary to help the team, that’s what you’ve got to do and right now, that’s where we are.” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards when asked about Hart playing 48 minutes. “And that’s where we’ve been the entire season — we’ve been shorthanded the whole season. And this team has the belief that it can win. So whatever you have, give it to the team — and that’s what we’re asking everyone to do.”

NY takes the 1st game of the series.

1. NY Jumps Out to 1st Quarter Lead

NY came out aggressively with scoring by Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart .

Josh Hart was the glue for the Knicks all game — he would finish with 24 pts on 9-13 shooting (1-1 from 3), 13 rebounds (4 offensive), 8 assists, 3 steals, and a block.

“Josh Hart takes no play for granted and like most former Jay Wright players he uses fundamentals,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “First he catches in triple threat, use of shot fake then uses pivot foot and finishes then uses a jab step and hits a 3 and then uses the rim to protect himself against a shot blocker.”

When OG Anunoby hit a with 1:15 left in the quarter, NY was up 24-17.

But Indiana closed the quarter well as T.J. McConnell came in and started penetrating, dishing, and scoring —  to pull back the Pacers back within 27-24.

2. Indiana Closes 2nd Quarter Well

It was more McConnell in the 2nd quarter, with Ben Sheppard hitting a 3 and Isaiah Jackson playing a big game inside: blocking a shot, rebounding, and scoring.

  • Myles Turner blocked an Isaiah Hartenstein dunk, and then down the other end hit a reverse slam and Indiana was up 35-32 with 7:22 left in the half.
  • Turner then scored on a tip shot off an offensive rebound to put the Pacers up 37-32.
  • But the Knicks fought back on scoring by Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart.

Hart was keeping NY in the game with rebounds and his patented full-court drives and finishes — the best ever at it.


Even with Hart’s heroics, Indiana was beating the Knicks on the boards, and NY was turning the ball over. The game had an off feel to it, as the refs kept calling fouls and there seemed to be no rhythm to the game.

  • Turner hit a 3 to put Indiana up 40-36.
  • A DiVincenzo drive tied the game at 44 with 2:41 left.

But NY did not finish the quarter well.

  • McConnell hit a drive, Siakam hit a J, Sheppard scored inside, and Haliburton hit a step-back 3 with 3 seconds left to give Indiana a 9-pt lead.

3. Hartenstein Hits 3/4 Court Shot at Halftime Buzzer

And that’s when Isaiah Hartenstein took a desperation 3/4 court, 46-foot heave at the buzzer and HIT — to pull NY within 55-49 at the half.

4. Knicks Take Lead in 3rd But Indiana Closes Quarter Well

NY stormed out in the 3rd and took the lead, despite the scoring of Myles Turner.

  • DiVincenzo hit a 3 to slice the Indiana lead, but Pascal Siakam countered with a 3.
  • Hart hit a drive, but Siakam countered with a drive.
  • Hartenstein dunked off an Anunoby assist.
  • Hart kept driving to the hoop, drawing fouls — he made free throws after a drive, followed by a Turner dunk, and then made more free throws after a drive.
  • A DiVincenzo dunk off a Hart assist tied the game at 62. Indiana timeout. Madison Square Garden ROARED.

  • Hartenstein hit a floater after a Turner jumper and it was tied again at 64.
  • Brunson hit a drive after Turner free throws, and it was tied again at 66.

At 6:13 left, Jalen Brunson blocked Turners shot inside but was called for a foul. The Knicks challenged and won the challenge — the refs ruling it was a clean block.

It was a key play and key challenge win — as the Knicks would need that challenge on the ball-off-Nembhard’s-leg call in the final minute.

  • DiVincenzo then hit a drive and NY was back up, 68-66.
  • Myles Turner tied it with a layup, but
  • DiVincenzo hit a 3, and
  • Hartenstein dunked off a Hart pass, and NY was up 73-68 with 4:37 left in the 3rd.

Indiana Again Closed a Quarter Well

Indiana closed another quarter well:

McConnell reentered the game.

  • Nembhard hit a step-back,
  • Obi Toppin hit a drive,
  • McConnell hit a drive,
  • Turner made free throws,
  • Obi Toppin dunked, and Indiana was up 78-73.

The Knicks fought back — Brunson fed Mitchell Robinson for a dunk, then Brunson and McConnell exchanged drives.

But McConnell stole the ball from Brunson and passed up court to Obi Toppin, hanging in the backcourt, who  threw down a between-the-legs slam. The MSG fans were non plussed.

DiVo hit a 3 and a drive to pull NY back within 2, but Myles Turner ended the quarter with a desperation 3 at the buzzer and Indiana had an 87-82 lead.

5. Brunson, Hart & OG Huge in Frenetic 4th

And then came the frenetic 4th — when NY would end a quarter well — the most important quarter.

It didn’t look good early for NY as Indiana went up by 9 points early in the quarter on Siakam free throws and another McConnell drive.

But Brunson put the Knicks on his back offensively — he would score 21 points in the quarter.

  • His free throws pulled NY back within 6, and a key offensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson led to a Josh Hart dunk and it was 94-90 with 9:26 left at a ROCKING Madison Square Garden.

  • DiVincenzo hit a 3 off a Hart assist and it was a 94-93 game.

The next few minutes were a back-and-forth dogfight:

  • Aaron Nesmith made back-to-back drives, countered by Brunson drives and floaters.
  • Nembhard hit a pullup to put Indiana up 5 — Brunson answered with a drive.
  • Nembhard hit free throws to put Indiana up 104-99 with 6:05 left.

Hart, Hart, and More Hart

But then on a key play — Josh Hart answered with a drive and was fouled, making it Indiana 104-101.

Hart missed the free throw but grabbed his own rebound and scored again inside!

“Can’t tweet it enough,” exclaimed NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Josh Hart puts himself not finds himself in position that results in winning plays with his relentless pursuit. He outworks all on the glass, every 50/50 ball belongs to him, defends, fearless going to the rim and just wants it more. Plays for the name on front.”

It was Indiana 104 NY 103 — although the score on the broadcast showed it 104-104. They then corrected it to 104-103 confusing the audience.

Turner hit a free throw to put Indiana up 2, but on the next play DiVincenzo missed a 3 but Josh Hart grabbed ANOTHER key offensive rebound and was fouled inside. He went 1-2 from the line and it was still Indiana up 1.

Siakam hit a runner and Nesmith made free throws and Indiana was up 5 with 4:27 left.

But Jalen Brunson rose to the occasion yet again, hitting a 3 to pull NY to within 109-107.

OG, OG, and More OG

OG Anunoby then came up with a huge steal on the baseline against Haliburton, feeding Brunson who was fouled. Brunson hit both free throws and it was a tie game with 3:29 left.

OG Anunoby did it again on the very next play — stealing the ball from Haliburton on the right baseline and going length of the court for a slam and NY was up 111-109 with 3:11 left.

Brunson, Brunson, and More Brunson

The Knicks defended Siakam into a miss inside, Hartenstein grabbed the rebound, and fed Brunson for a drive and floater and NY was up 113-109 as Madison Square Garden erupted once again.

But Indiana came back — Nesmith seemed to set a moving pick on DiVincenzo, who ran into him and Nesmith flopped down. DiVincenzo roared complaint but Nesmith got free throws.

A Siakam drive off a Turner steal tied the game at 113 with 2:10 left.

Haliburton stole the ball from Brunson but was called for a foul. Indiana challenged and won the challenge. On replay it was clear that Haliburton swiped the ball just before hitting Brunson’s arm.

Nembhard then hit a drive and Indiana was up 2 with 1:33 left.

Brunson put the Knicks on his back once again — coming down and hitting a 13-footer despite Indiana throwing their defense at him. Tie game — 115 all — with a minute left.

NY defended — Nembhard missed a 3 — NY had the ball — Brunson came down and passed inside but the ball went off Nembard’s leg for a kicked ball.

Indiana howled that Nembhard had hit it with his hand first — but teams cannot challenge a kicked-ball call.

DiVincenzo HUGE 3 Puts NY Up for Good

NY had the ball back and DiVincenzo hit the 3 to put NY ahead with 40 seconds left — a lead they kept in the final frenetic seconds for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore

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