Melo cold, Pacers edge Knicks in Game 1
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK — Up until that point when the bottom completely fell out for the New York Knicks in their 102-95 Game 1 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday afternoon, it was all passion and patience among their loyalists.
No fanbase is as discerning as the one that resides inside Madison Square Garden, but this was a day to appreciate the meaning of it all. This was their return to real relevance.
It had been 13 years since their Knicks played in the second round, back when those pesky Pacers had knocked them out of the 2000 Conference Finals. So they heckled the refs, championed Knicks great Patrick Ewing by chanting his name as he smiled from his courtside seat, gave a collective sigh when things didn’t go their boys’ way, and generally reveled in the affair with the sort of rose-colored glasses not typically found in these parts.
Until the end of the third quarter, anyways. The vintage Garden boos started because, well, the Knicks were finished.
After cutting the Pacers lead to 62-57, the Knicks missed 11 of their last 14 shots in the quarter while the Pacers just kept coming with the inside-out attack that was there for them throughout. It was Roy Hibbert and David West in the paint, Lance Stephenson and DJ Augustin slashing through the lane, and it still wasn’t enough pressure applied in Indiana’s view. After the boos killed the once-cheery mood and pushed Indiana’s lead to 78-65, Augustin buried a three-pointer after an offensive rebound to end the quarter 81-65.
Before Carmelo Anthony struggled on his 10-for-28 shooting night, there had been much chatter among the New York media types about which mystery voter picked him as the league’s MVP and thus spoiled LeBron James’ chances of being the unanimous pick. But Anthony may not have received an MVP vote from his own fans with the way he had played early in the third quarter. After a George Hill three-pointer pushed the Pacers’ lead to nine, Anthony drove right and was blocked by Hibbert, then had his off-target right baseline jumper contested by George in … [For more on Carmelo Anthony cold as Pacers edge Knicks in Game 1, click here.]