After losing two games in a row, the Pacers (15-16) will return to the winning column on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden when they take on the Knicks (16-17) on the second night of their back-to-back tie.
Indiana fell on a Friday night in Boston, dropping the 118-112 decision to the Celtics. The Blue & Gold did a lot of good in the game, including racing to lead 18-4 and holding down Boston All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to combine 24 points on 9 of 30 shots. But Kemba Walker scored a season-high 32 points and – like Wednesday’s defeat to the Warriors – the Pacers failed to make one or two more games while dropping a close decision.
The loss dropped Indiana below .500 for the second time this season. The Pacers also fell from fourth to eighth in the crowded Eastern Conference standings, with only one game currently separating the seven teams from fourth to 10th.
The Knicks have been one of the shock teams of the season and are currently sixth in dogfight in the East. New coach Tom Thibodeau has a team that plays his trademark stout defense. New York is third in the NBA in defensive efficiency, limiting opponents to just 107.9 points per 100 holdings.
Offensively, the Knicks were supported by 6-8 forward Julius Randle. Randle is enjoying a breakout season in his seventh year outside of Kentucky, recently earning his first All-Star selection. He averaged 23.2 points, 11 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game – all career highs – while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from 3-point range.
Pacers: PG – Malcolm Brogdon, SG – Justin Holiday, SF – Doug McDermott, PF – Domantas Sabonis, C – Myles Turner
Knicks: PG – Derrick Rose, SG – RJ Barrett, SF – Reggie Bullock, PF – Julius Randle, C – Nerlens Noel
Pacers: Brian Bowen II – out (G League two-way contract), Jalen Lecque – out (G League assignment), Caris LeVert – out (medical condition), JaKarr Sampson – out (health and safety protocol), Cassius Stanley – out (G League two-way contract), TJ Warren – out (left leg fracture)
Knicks: Elfrid Payton – doubt (right hamstring pain), Ignas Brazdeikis – out (League G assignment), Jared Harper – out (G League two-way contract), Mitchell Robinson – out (right hand surgery)
January 2, 2021: The Pacers won 106-102 over the Pacers at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“They take shots when they need them,” coach Nate Bjorkgren said after the match. “We didn’t. The ball didn’t bounce at us tonight.”
The defeat ruined a brilliant performance from Malcolm Brogdon, who scored 33 points while doing 7-of-10 from 3-point range and provided seven assists. Myles Turner added 17 points, Victor Oladipo scored 16 points and Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and 13 rebounds for Indiana.
RJ Barrett led New York with 25 points, going 4-for-5 from outside the arc. Eflrid Payton added 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Mitchell Robinson added 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
- The Pacers have won their last four games at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks haven’t beaten Indiana at home since November 5, 2017.
- Indiana has scored 4-1 this season on the second straight night.
- Doug McDermott played 55 games for the Knicks during the 2017-18 season.
- It took Myles Turner one block to become the first player in the NBA to take 100 shots this season.
Broadcast Information List of TV & Radio »
TELEVISION: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5 / 107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)
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