Worst Loss of the Year. Indiana 121 Knicks 89

Indiana blew the Knicks off the court on a Mother’s Day Sunday afternoon, 121-89, to tie the best-of-7 series at 2 games apiece.

The injury-depleted Knicks couldn’t hit the 3, and Indiana could. NY shot 7-37 from 3; Indiana shot 14-31.

T.J. McConnell came off the bench as a  house of fire, combining with Obi Toppin to energize the Pacers, and they put NY on their heels, leading to rhythm 3’s. Indiana was off to the races, in front 34-14 at the end of the 1st quarter, leading by 69-41 at the half, and leading by about 40 points throughout the 2nd half.

The banged up Knicks had no mojo — with OG Anunoby out, and Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle out for the year. Jalen Brunson still looks affected by the ankle sprain of game 2.

“Fell behind early. Didn’t respond well. Have to fix it. Get ready for the next one,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “We started slowly; they made shots; got a big lead. Snowballed. So, we have to respond.”

1. Indiana Up by 20 After a Quarter

It was a disaster from the start — as Indiana jumped out to a lead, and the Knicks kept missing their 3’s. Indiana jumped out to a 10-4 lead, and then TJ McConnell came in and revved up the Indiana offense even more.

On the radio, Monica McNutt said Knick fans should have no fear — NY would just need to “keep axing wood and carrying water”.

But Obi Toppin came off the bench for a floater, a 3, and a drive on consecutive possessions and Indiana was up 34-11 near the end of the 1st quarter.

“T.J. McConnell stays ready, knows his role and plays hard regardless if he gets 2 minutes or 20 minutes as his effort, activity, defense, make others better and leadership never change,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Also, first one off the bench to greet a teammate and first one on the floor for a loose ball.”

2. Indiana Up by 28 at the Half

Indiana kept pushing it in the 2nd quarter. Brunson kept missing shots short.

Alec Burks came off the bench for NY and was the lone bright spot — hitting several drives and getting to the line. Burks finished with 20 pts on 5-11 shooting (2-6 from 3) and 8-10 from the free throw line.

For Indiana — Halliburton (20 pts) scored on drives and 3’s; including an unconscious one from way downtown.

Myles Turner hit drives and 3’s (he was 5-5 from the floor, 3-3 from 3). Pascal Siakam scored on drives (7-9 from the floor for 14 pts).

At the half, the Pacers were 10-21 from 3, the Knicks were 2-13 from 3. Indiana was up 69-41.

3. Indiana Up by 38 after 3 Quarters

It was more of the same in the 3rd — Indiana upped the lead to near 40 points.

“I thought we were slow to the ball; and usually we’re very quick to the ball,” said Thibs afterwards. “So that’s the biggest thing. And everything starts with our ball pressure — we have to make sure we have good ball pressure, and then the shell — and if you’re a step behind in the shell you’re going to give up high percentage shots. We have to look at it, make corrections, and then have that will and determination to bounce back.”

With Indiana up 94-60 and 2 minutes left in the 3rd, Thibs pulled the plug — bringing in the 3rd team — with Shake Milton (remember him?) coming in and soon afterwards DaQuan Jeffries entering the game with Indiana up 99-63.

4. Knicks Empty Bench for the 4th

In the 4th, the Knicks had Jericho Sims, Shake Milton, DaQuan Jeffries, and Mamadi Diakite on the floor with Miles McBride.

At least the Knick starters got a chance to rest a bit:

  • Donte DiVincenzo would finish the game 3-13 from the floor and 1-6 from 3 in 32 minutes.
  • Brunson was 5-17 from the floor (0-6 from 3) in 31 minutes.
  • Josh Hart was 1-6 for 2 points in 24 minutes.
  • Isaiah Hartenstein was injured in the 2nd and played 22 minutes, scoring 4 pts on 2-3 shooting.

The Boxscore


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