New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for NYC

Sean HojnackiFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2013

New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for NYC

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    The New York Knicks took on the Indiana Pacers at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse Wednesday night, and this one was over early. The Knicks trailed for the entire game and fell 125-91.

    Mike Woodson's squad looked like it was taking an extended All-Star break. The Knicks were sluggish on offense and lackluster on D as the Pacers romped through the first two quarters for a 74-44 halftime lead.

    The Pacers scored 44 points in the second quarter. The Knicks scored that through the first and second quarters.

    Indiana averages the fifth fewest possessions per game in the NBA (per ESPN), but they came out running against the Knicks, exposing New York's problems on transition defense.

    By halftime, the Pacers had 14 fast-break points. They hit on 22 of their 37 field goals (59.5 percent), including 7-of-13 from three-point range. The Knicks, meanwhile, were 14-of-43 (32.6 percent) and 1-of-15 from beyond the arc.

    Paul George led the charge for Indiana with 20 first-half points, including a pair of emphatic dunks, and Indiana continued to run rings around New York in the second half. At one point in the fourth quarter, MSG announcer Walt Frazier exclaimed about the Pacers to his broadcast partner, Spero Dedes, "I've never seen so many dunks!"

    Dedes responded by saying, "It's like a layup line."

    That was basically the story of the game.

    The Pacers have built up a tremendous home-court advantage, entering the contest at 21-5. They're 22-5 now after blowing the Knicks' doors off.

    New York came into the game with a 32-18 record, putting them four games behind the Miami Heat and in second place. But with their victory, the Pacers closed to just half a game behind the Knicks.

    So how on earth do we grade this massacre?  I will try. 

Point Guard

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    Raymond Felton, PG: C

    Felton was one of the few Knicks who showed up for this game. He had 10 points in the first half, but managed only one assist.

    This speaks to the fact that the Knicks average the second-fewest assist per game in the NBA.

    Felton finished with 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting, plus three assists and two turnovers. His forgettable night was actually one of the bright spots for New York.

Shooting Guard

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    Jason Kidd, SG: D

    Kidd could not find his shot in the first half and did not attempt one in the second. He missed all three field-goal attempts, all of which came from three-point range.

    In his 17 minutes, Kidd also had a pair of dimes and three steals to go with no points.

    According to the MSG broadcasters, Kidd spent the All-Star break at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and found the sun and sand to be a tonic for him.

    Hopefully he stays rejuvenated down the stretch, as the Knicks desperately need his services.

Small Forward

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    Iman Shumpert, SF: D

    Shumpert had another no-show game Wednesday night, with the All-Star break not seeming to aid his legs.

    Shumpert finished with four points, a pair of boards, a steal, block, assist and turnover. That is a glimpse of his versatility, but he still looks a step or two slow. 

    It can't be much longer before Coach Woodson starts to wonder who should actually start at the 3. Until Rasheed Wallace and/or Marcus Camby actually return to the lineup (instead of just practice), Carmelo Anthony has to be the starting 4.

    But Shumpert has been woefully ineffective as the starting small forward. He's shooting just 33.8 percent since returning from knee injury.

Power Forward

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    Carmelo Anthony, PF: C

    The Knicks desperately needed someone to step up and take control on offense, but Carmelo picked up three personal fouls and sat out almost eight minutes of the first half, finishing with eight points and three boards the first two quarters.

    At one point, MSG cameras showed Melo sitting next to Amar'e Stoudemire, both with the same baffled look on their faces. It was almost comical.

    Anthony finished with 15 points on 7-of-21 shooting and six rebounds before Coach Woodson removed the starters early in the fourth.

    It's too bad Anthony couldn't bring the form he showed in the All-Star game. Perhaps his arm contusion from last week is still bothering him.

Center

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    Tyson Chandler, C: B+

    Chandler led the Knicks through the doldrums of the first half. Through two quarters, he was 4-of-4 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line, leading the Knicks with 15 points and five boards.

    But he just couldn't get any help, as the rest of the team shot 10-of-39 before the break.

    Chandler also got heated with Pacers center Tyler Hansbrough after getting a little push in the back on a layup attempt. Officials initially called a flagrant-1, but they reduced it to a mere shooting foul upon review.

    Chandler finished up with 19 points and 11 rebounds. He could have scored more, but he missed two or three layups in the second half.

    One thing to note is that he knocked down all 11 of his free-throw attempts. That's a very encouraging sign from the big man.

Sixth Man

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    J.R. Smith, SG: F

    In the first half, Smith was out of sync. He was 1-of-6 from the field, 3-of-6 from the line and committed a pair of turnovers.

    Smith and Pacers guard Lance Stephenson got into a "discussion" just after the halftime buzzer sounded and were called for double technicals. 

    Then, with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Smith grabbed a defensive rebound and found himself facing Stephenson.

    He raised his arms to cross over the defender and dribble up court, but you would have to be pretty naive to think Smith didn't intentionally swat his elbows through the area where Stephenson's face had been. 

    Stephenson was able to Matrix-bend his head out of the way, and Smith was called for charging. 

    After David West drained a jump shot, Smith began barking something at the ref under the basket and was promptly given another technical foul.

    Ejection.

    It was a stupid way to pick up a second tech and almost seemed a tacit acknowledgment of defeat and a way of exiting this blowout early.

Rest of Bench

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    Rest of Bench: C

    The Knicks bench just couldn't give the struggling starters much help.

    Amar'e Stoudemire committed four personal fouls in his first 10 minutes. He added a technical for good measure when he lost his temper and threw a minor tantrum in the second quarter.

    STAT finished with seven points, seven boards and two turnovers. 

    Kurt Thomas committed four fouls in six early minutes, many of them reach-ins as a Pacer dribbled by him like a Central Park statue.

    Thomas isn't just the oldest player in the NBA, he looks like it. His only field-goal attempt hit the side of the backboard.

    Steve Novak scored 11 points (including three three-pointers) and grabbed six rebounds. He added a pair of steals, too, in a solid 23 minutes of action.

    Chris Copeland and Pablo Prigioni also played for the majority of the fourth. Copeland scored 13 points in 10 minutes and Prigioni dished eight dimes.

    They are the main reasons this grade is not a D.

    The bench mob went on a 13-0 run in garbage time, which started early in the fourth quarter. They are the reason the team's margin of defeat wasn't 40 points or more.

    The Knicks will get a chance to redeem themselves on Friday. They can try to forget about this abomination in Indiana when they cross the border to play the Toronto Raptors.