Well, that didn't go as expected.
In a battle of two of the Eastern Conference's elite, the Indiana Pacers absolutely flattened the New York Knicks by a score of 125-91. The Pacers now move to 32-21, while the Knicks drop to 33-19.
So how did it all go down?
With the Pacers hosting their rival Knicks, many expected it to be Indiana's elite defense against New York's overwhelming three-point shooting. That was far from the case, as Indiana made 11 three-pointers and New York hit just one of their first 15 and 5-of-28 overall.
At the half, Indiana capitalized on this to build a 74-44 lead—no, that isn't a typo.
After seven minutes of back-and-forth scoring, the Pacers jumped out to a modest 15-10 lead. As Paul George drained a deep three-pointer to extend the lead, however, the Pacers caught fire.
They never looked back.
Indiana opened up the second quarter on a 13-2 run, led by rookie shooting guard Orlando Johnson. Johnson hit two insanely deep three-pointers and set the tone for a blowout.
George provided supporting fire with 12 of the Pacers' 44 second quarter points.
With a 30-point lead at the half, this game was all but over when the third quarter rolled around. Even as the Knicks put their stars on the floor, they were unable to mount any form of a comeback.
With Lance Stephenson making plays on both ends of the floor, Indiana was able to maintain its lead. In fact, it extended it by a slight margin.
The story of the Knicks' evening came as Tyson Chandler attempted to throw down a double-clutch reverse alley-oop—and missed the dunk.
With 2:51 remaining in the third quarter, J.R. Smith was ejected after swinging his elbows at Stephenson and arguing with referees. Stephenson had been playing full-court defense.
Indiana's tenacity prevailed in this one.
While it might be nice to know what transpired in the fourth quarter, there isn't much to report. Indiana maintained its lead by receiving a great effort from bench players such as Jeff Pendergraph and Sam Young.
As for the starters, David West had 18 points and nine rebounds. Lance Stephenson added 14 and Paul George led all scorers with 27.
Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks finished with 15 points on 7-of-21 shooting.
Player of the Game: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Matched up with an arch-rival, Paul George padded his reputation as one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA. This comes after George made his first career All-Star appearance this past weekend.
Tonight, George showed just how far he's come by out-playing superstar forward Carmelo Anthony. If you don't believe it, just check the numbers.
George finished with 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal on 11-of-19 shooting. George made four of Indiana's 11 three-point field goals.
Pure and utter two-way dominance.
For his performance, PG earns "Player of the Game" honors. An honorable mention goes to David West, who continues to quietly dominate.
Per usual, however, it was George who was the most dominant force.
What's Next for the Knicks?
Up next, the New York Knicks play their second of a two-game road trip. They will travel to Canada to play the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 22.
New York has now lost three in a row, including a 92-88 defeat at the hands of the Raptors on Feb. 13.
What's Next for the Pacers?
Up next for the Indiana Pacers is a home-and-home with the Detroit Pistons. They host the Pistons on Feb. 22 and travel to Detroit on Feb. 23.
Indiana has won two straight and six of eight.