The Indiana Pacers put the New York Knicks on lockdown in Game 3, en route to a 82-71 win and a 2-1 series lead.
Offense was optional in the first half, as neither team scored over 20 points in the first or second quarter—which led to a low scoring 36-33 first half score in favor of the Pacers.
Both teams shot 33.3 percent from the field, with George Hill scoring nine of the 18 points for the Pacers, and Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony scoring 13 of the Knicks' 15 points in the first quarter.
Their poor shooting continued into the second quarter, with both teams finishing the first half shooting under 39 percent from the floor—Pacers (31.9 percent) and Knicks (38.1 percent).
That slow offensive trend carried over into the second half, with the Knicks and Pacers combining for just 84 points in the second half.
Roy Hibbert dominated the Knicks in the paint, with 24 points and 12 rebounds (eight offensive). And Paul George supported his production well, with 14 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and five steals.
The Knicks really had no answer for the Pacers, with Carmelo Anthony being the only Knicks player in double digits, with 21 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the floor.
With Game 4 looming, the Knicks have a lot to work on if they intend on making a push toward the Eastern Conference Finals, because right now the Pacers look like they've got this series right where they want it.
Raymond Felton, PG, Knicks
With zero points and three turnovers in the first half, Raymond Felton was a major reason why the Knicks couldn't get past the 35-point mark in the first half.
Felton didn't score his first points of the game until the 9:46 mark of the fourth quarter when he capped off a three-point play to cut the Pacers' lead to single digits.
Not only did Felton's lack of offensive production hold the Knicks back, his lack of facilitation held them back even more. He had three turnovers and just two assists in Game 3, and that was the kind of night the Knicks had.
He ended the night with just six points on 1-of-8 shooting, and with 'Melo struggling, the Knicks couldn't afford to have Felton struggle. Felton has to be more efficient, especially in getting the ball to his teammates on the perimeter for open threes—which wasn't a part of the Knicks offense in Game 3.
Overall Grade: D+
George Hill, PG, Pacers
George Hill scored nine points on 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc in the first quarter, which was half of the Pacers' 18 points in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, though, Hill was held scoreless in the second quarter, and he didn't dish out a single assist in the entire first half.
Hill did account for 17 points on the night, but he shot a rather inefficient 5-of-16 from the field and 5-of-12 from beyond the arc.
It's good to see Hill being aggressive on offense, but if it consistently ends in 31.3 percent shooting from the floor, he may want to tone down the aggressive play just a bit.
Overall Grade: B
Pablo Prigioni, PG/SG, Knicks
Pablo Prigioni's first-half performance was right on par with his play throughout the series thus far.
He scored zero points, but he dished out three assists—which in such a low-scoring game were extremely important in the first half.
Prigioni continued his unproductive performance in the second half, finishing with zero points and three assists in 24 minutes.
I understand not wanting to break up rotations in the playoffs, but Prigioni is becoming a liability, especially on the defensive side of the ball. And it may be time for Mike Woodson to highly decrease his minutes moving forward—especially with Amar'e Stoudemire available to insert into the lineup again.
Overall Grade: D
Lance Stephenson, SG, Pacers
Aside from Lance Stephenson's J.R. Smith-esque shot selection in the first half, he had a rather productive first half with five rebounds and two assists.
On a normal night that doesn't sound so important.
But in such a low-scoring game, every assist was extremely valuable, especially early on.
Stephenson ended the night with eight points, seven rebounds and three assists. It wasn't a highly productive night for Stephenson, but he was productive enough to make a difference in a low-scoring game.
Overall Grade: B-
Iman Shumpert, SG/SF, Knicks
The most impressive part of Iman Shumpert's Game 3 performance were the eight rebounds he grabbed in the first two quarters of the game.
He ended the first half with four points on 1-of-5 shooting, but he grabbed an impressive eight rebounds (two offensive), which were four more rebounds than any other teammate.
Shumpert's rebounding tenacity slowed to a halt in the second half, and he ended with 10.
Shumpert's defense was one of the few highlights for the Knicks throughout Game 3, but aside from that there wasn't much else to be excited about.
The most interesting part of Shumpert's play in Game 3 was that he didn't attempt a single three-pointer all night until there was just 12 seconds left in the game. I'm not sure why he was hesitant from beyond the arc, but it certainly didn't help the Knicks.
Overall Grade: C+
Paul George, SF, Pacers
Paul George brought well-balanced production in the first half, with seven points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
He picked right up where he left off in the second half, ending the night with a thoroughly impressive stat line of 14 points, eight assists, eight rebounds and five steals.
What held George back from having a truly exceptional night was his low shooting percentages, just 23.5 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc.
A lack of efficiency could really hurt George and the Pacers moving forward, if the Knicks remember how to score. That's likely to happen, so George may want to work on his stroke just a bit.
Overall Grade: B
Carmelo Anthony, SF/PF, Knicks
In a low-scoring game you'd expect Carmelo Anthony's name to be at the forefront of inefficient shooting, but that wasn't the case.
In the first half, 'Melo was the only player with double-digit points, with 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 shooting from the charity stripe.
'Melo picked up his fourth personal foul with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter, which sent him to the bench after scoring 19 points in 28 minutes.
When 'Melo returned to the floor he just wasn't himself, scoring only two points in the final nine minutes of action. After a solid start, 'Melo cooled off ending with just 21 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the floor while also committing four turnovers.
A large part of 'Melo's inefficiency has to do with his teammates' inability to score, putting more pressure on him. But 'Melo should be able to step up and carry the Knicks, and he didn't do that in Game 3.
Overall Grade: C
David West, PF, Pacers
David West's five points and seven rebounds (four offensive) helped solidify the Pacers' attack a bit in the first half.
He also hurt Indiana with three personal fouls and a technical foul that slowed the Pacers' momentum in the first half.
Luckily, West calmed down on the "fouling" side of things, committing just one foul in the second half, en route to a double-double consisting of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
West's five offensive rebounds helped give the Pacers a plus-eight rebounding advantage on the offensive glass, which led to a healthy amount of second-chance points for Indiana.
Overall Grade: B
Tyson Chandler, C, Knicks
Iman Shumpert out-rebounded Tyson Chandler in the first half, eight rebounds to four, but that's honestly becoming the norm for this series.
With six points and four rebounds, Chandler's presence was felt in the first half, but it wasn't as dominant as it could've been. And it certainly hasn't been as productive as the Knicks need him to be.
Chandler couldn't contain Roy Hibbert, and that was a major difference-maker that ultimately led to the Pacers' big-time win. He also ended the night with only five rebounds, as compared to Hibbert who grabbed 12 rebounds (eight offensive).
The Knicks need to figure out some way to get Chandler more involved on the offensive boards, because his lack of productivity is killing them in the paint in this series.
Overall Grade: C-
Roy Hibbert, C, Pacers
Roy Hibbert absolutely owned Game 3, with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field and 12 rebounds (eight offensive).
The Knicks just didn't have an answer for his size and production in the paint all game long
With nine points and eight rebounds, on 4-of-11 shooting in the first half, Hibbert set the tone early. He kept it going throughout the final two quarters of Game 3.
The Knicks should be worried, because containing Hibbert is becoming a serious issue for them.
In addition to his impressive offensive production, Hibbert also owned the paint on the defensive side of the ball. He was active on defense, and he contested nearly every shot that went up within his reach.
If the Knicks don't find an answer for Hibbert, their season will come to an end in the next few days.
Overall Grade: A
J.R. Smith, SG, Knicks
Every since he elbowed Jason Terry in the chin and received a one-game suspension, J.R. Smith hasn't been the same.
In Game 3 he put up just nine points on 4-of-12 shooting, and aside from one rebound and two fouls, he didn't bring much else to the floor.
In a game where offense was very hard to find, the Knicks could've used some offense off their bench, but Smith couldn't get it done.
Overall Grade: D-
D.J. Augustin, PG, Pacers
The Indiana Pacers' bench was rather nonexistent throughout Game 3, and that includes their "Sixth Man" D.J. Augustin.
He played just 17 minutes and scored three points on 1-of-3 shooting from the field and beyond the arc.
It's hard to grade a player who didn't get the opportunity to do much, but the Pacers didn't need him to do anything aside from protecting the ball and he did that—committing zero turnovers throughout the night.
Overall Grade: C+
New York Knicks Bench
Amar'e Stoudemire made his glorious return and ended with seven points and two offensive rebounds in just nine minutes of action.
That wasn't an awful return for Stoudemire, but his 3-of-8 shooting did hold him back a bit.
Kenyon Martin added eight points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes, and if I were Mike Woodson, I'd take notice of that and give him more minutes in light of Tyson Chandler's weak performance as of late.
If it wasn't for J.R. Smith's rough 4-of-12 shooting night, the Knicks' bench would get a higher grade. But as he's done all series long, Smith held the Knicks back.
Overall Grade: C+
Indiana Pacers Bench
With eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, the Pacers' bench didn't really do anything to assist the starting core in Game 3.
Luckily, the Pacers didn't need much bench production thanks to the Knicks awful offensive night. But this kind of performance just won't cut it moving forward.
Their bench also had more turnovers than assists, with two turnovers to just one assist. It wasn't pretty for the Pacers' second unit, but they got the win, and that's what matters.
Overall Grade: D-