Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks: Postgame Grades and Analysis for NYK
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 25 points, but he left the game in the third quarter with a left shoulder contusion and did not return. Fortunately for New York, it does not appear to be serious, as there were a couple of times when Anthony was getting set to check back in, only to have Mike Woodson send him back to the bench as a precaution while the Knicks built their lead late.
New York led by as much as 20 in this one, but the Pacers stormed back and trimmed the lead to five in the third quarter. The Knicks answered, however, and never appeared to be in any danger the rest of the way.
Indiana turned the ball over 26 times, with five of its players having at least four turnovers. Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 22 points.
Point Guard: Raymond Felton, B+
This was a decent outing for Raymond Felton. The Knicks point guard scored 11 points off a rather efficient 5-of-9 clip, handing out three assists in the process.
Felton did make a couple of sloppy passes and turned the ball over three times, but overall, this was a solid day for him.
Defensively, Felton was sound against George Hill, holding his counterpart to only six points off 2-of-8 shooting. Felton is not known for his D, so that was obviously a nice surprise for New York and a big reason why it was able to win on Sunday afternoon.
The floor general posted a plus-nine plus/minus stat in 33 minutes.
Shooting Guard: Pablo Prigioni, B
Pablo Prigioni put forth one of his typical performances in 24 minutes, playing some scrappy defense and coming up with yet another one his trademark steals on an inbounds pass. There was also an instance where he ripped a rebound away from the Pacers.
Prigioni took only one shot, a rare deep three-pointer which he drained.
Interestingly enough, however, the Argentinian put up a minus-12.
All of that being said, Prigioni isn't asked to do too much other than play some feisty defense and set up his teammates.
Small Forward: Iman Shumpert, B
While Iman Shumpert did not shoot the rock particularly well in this one, he was effective overall, posting a plus-13 and recording 10 points and five boards in 25 minutes of action.
He spent some time bringing the ball up the floor against Indiana, something that he would have never done earlier in the season when he was still making his way back from ACL surgery. It is blatantly obvious that Shumpert is almost fully recovered, as evidenced by his increased aggressiveness and quicker legs.
Shumpert also hit a pretty big three early in the third quarter to put New York up by eight, and it was never really threatened the rest of the way.
Iman shot 3-of-8 from the field and connected on two of his four three-point attempts.
Power Forward: Carmelo Anthony, B-
It wasn't exactly an efficient afternoon for Anthony, who shot 9-of-23 from the floor en route to scoring 25 points, but you had to love his aggression and toughness in battling Roy Hibbert and David West in the post.
The size of the Pacers frontcourt did take a toll on him in the third quarter, however, when Anthony suffered a left shoulder contusion after being fouled by West. He would not return, but the Knicks did not need him to.
Melo actually hit his first four shots in this contest, scoring New York's first nine points on perimeter jumpers over the long arms of Paul George. He then went into a bit of a funk, missing 10 of his next 11 shots, but he was able to do just enough to help the Knicks maintain their lead.
Anthony has really struggled shooting the ball against Indiana this season, and given the fact that this could be a potential second-round matchup, there may be a bit of a concern there.
Carmelo also grabbed five rebounds on Sunday.
Center: Solomon Jones, C
With Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin both sidelined, the recently signed Solomon Jones got the start for the Knicks.
Jones went scoreless in 14 minutes, air-balling the only shot he attempted. He did play some decent post defense on former teammate Hibbert, however, using his lengthy 6'10" frame to bother the Pacers' center inside.
It's safe to say that Jones, who also pulled down two boards, will not play much of a role for New York come playoff time.
Sixth Man: J.R. Smith, B+
This was a nice game for J.R. Smith.
The Sixth Man of the Year candidate scored 15 points and hauled in eight rebounds, shooting 7-of-16 from the floor and also coming up with a couple of steals.
He made very good decisions with the basketball, making some nice dishes to his teammates. The two assists that he tallied do not do him justice.
Perhaps the best part about Smith's performance against the Pacers was the fact that he really did not take any bad shots. There was a jumper or two that probably bothered Mike Woodson a bit, but overall, Smith was very under control and took only good looks.
Rest of Knicks Bench, A
Chris Copeland was simply outstanding against Indiana, arguably representing the Knicks' best player on the floor in the win.
In 34 minutes, Copeland scored 20 points off 8-of-12 shooting, knocking down some perimeter jumpers and getting to the basket and finishing as well. While he may not necessarily be the quickest or most athletic guy out there, his solid ball-handling and awareness allows him to penetrate and get some good looks at the rim.
Copeland also played some incredible defense on Hibbert. Despite giving up a ton of size to the Pacers big man, Copeland fought tooth and nail with Hibbert in the post, playing an integral part in holding him to only four points on five shots.
Jason Kidd was big in this one, too, grabbing four rebounds, dishing out five assists and recording four steals. There was one play where he actually ripped the ball out of Stephenson's hands on his way to the basket. Kidd led New York with a plus-17.
Steve Novak was merely pedestrian during the 18 minutes he played, hitting on only two of his seven three-point attempts and missing some looks that he normally makes.
Thanks to a great outing by Copeland and a scrappy performance by Kidd, though, the Knicks bench earns high marks.