NEW YORK – Magic happened 18 years ago for the team in the blue and the gold at Madison Square Garden. Would it happen for the Pacers the same way on Tuesday night?
After all the Pacers were dominant in their opening game of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series with the Knicks and in some ways put them back on their heels with physical play. Yet head coach Frank Vogel warned his team about overconfidence since momentum shifts in the playoffs take just 48 game minutes.
Vogel’s advice indeed was mature as the magic of May 7th belonged to the Knicks instead of the Pacers in this second round series. New York dominated the final 16 minutes of the game to turn a one-point Indiana third quarter lead into a New York laugher. The Knicks ran away with Game Two 105-79 Tuesday night at the Garden to even the best-of-seven series at one game a piece.
The series now shifts back to Indianapolis where the teams will play Game 3 on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse starting at 8 PM.
As expected New York came out with some added energy after the tough performance on Sunday and they put the pressure on the Pacers throughout the first half. Indiana turned the ball over 12 times compared just three for the Knicks, who scored 20 points off turnovers in the first 24 minutes.
Iman Shumpert helped to open things up a bit for New York in the second quarter with eight points, which included a rebound slam that brought the crowd to it’s highest level of the series to date. The last of his points in the frame-a jumper with 3:46 to go-gave the Knicks a half-high 13 point lead.
From then on, however, the Pacers pitched the shutout and six points from Paul George helped to cut the deficit to five at halftime.
Eventually Indiana would grab a lead midway through the quarter when Lance Stephenson’s three-pointer gave the Pacers a 61-60 lead. But the Pacers turnover issues returned as they had three late in the quarter which opened up the door for a New York rally. Tyson Chandler’s bucket with two seconds the go in the quarter pushed the Knicks lead to 72-66.
New York’s momentum continued for six minutes into the fourth quarter. With the Pacers plagued by missed shots and turnovers, the Knicks went on an 18-0 run in the first six minutes to sent the series back to Indianapolis.