The Indiana Pacers' style of play won't win any beauty contests, but they continue to get the job done. Behind a fantastic all-around performance from Paul George, the Pacers defeated the Carmelo Anthony-less New York Knicks, 81-76, on Thursday night to record their third straight victory.
In a contest that saw an inordinate amount of shots clank off the rim, George was a rare exception. The third-year forward scored 24 points on 10-of-24 shooting, grabbed 11 rebounds, made six steals and dished out five assists for a Pacers team that desperately needed offensive production.
George was one of just two players for Indiana to score in double figures, as Frank Vogel's squad shot only 39.2 percent from the field Thursday night. The other double-digit scorer, Ian Mahinmi, got his 13 points with starting center Roy Hibbert being limited to 19 minutes due to back spasms.
Luckily for the Pacers, their offensive futility was only eclipsed by the Knicks. Like Indiana, New York had just two double-figure scorers, one of which was J.R. Smith, who made only 10 of his 29 shots en route to a 25-point performance.
It was apparent from the opening tip how much the Knicks missed Anthony, who sat out Thursday's game due to a suspension. They shot 34.8 percent from the field and knocked down only four of their 20 three-pointers to give New York a rare off night from beyond the arc.
The Knicks' loss was their second straight and puts them a full game behind the Miami Heat for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, the Pacers, who bested the Heat earlier this week, are now comfortably in the No. 3 slot in the East and have closed in on New York and Miami by winning five of their last six games.
Player of the Game: Paul George
On most nights, a 10-of-24 shooting performance is something worth criticizing. However, it became readily apparent that no one on Indiana's side was hitting jumpers, and George did his best Danny Granger impersonation to pull out the victory.
George's brilliance in other areas is just another testament to how special the youngster can be on both ends of the floor.
What's Next for the Knicks?
Anthony will return to the lineup just in time for the 23-12 Knicks to take on the rival Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on Friday.
What's Next for the Pacers?