Running thoughts: Knicks 108, Pacers 101

Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 108-101 loss to the New York Knicks Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

  • It’s the Pacers’ only visit to MSG this season, unfortunately. It’s not one of the best facilities, but it is historical and often brings out the best in the players. Indiana lost both visits last season, by seven and six points, respectively.
  • Myles Turner, back Friday after a seven-game absence due to a concussion, was back in the starting lineup. Rookie T.J. Leaf, who suffered a left ankle sprain in Friday’s loss in Philly, was not in uniform for the first time.
  • Kristaps Porzingis finished this mediocre lob, which came off a Pacers turnover. Impressive.
  • Two fouls in four minutes on Turner resulted in early minutes for Domantas Sabonis. Important for the Pacers to “smash,” to use Nate McMillan’s word, to block out Enes Kanter, an outstanding offensive rebounder.
  • Kanter has owned the glass. As many rebounds as the Pacers – with eight, including five on the offensive end. He exited after picking up two fouls with three minutes left in the first quarter.
  • Alex Poythress, who has a two-way deal with the Pacers, with some early playing time. He essentially took Leaf’s minutes. They ended the first period with Joseph-Oladipo, Stephenson, Poythress, and Sabonis.
  • Back in his home state of New York, Lance Stephenson came out playing aggressive basketball – with an edge. 2 for 3 with five points in the first quarter.
  • 33-25 after 1, shooting 58 percent. Impressive. Pacers’ +6 advantage in points in the paint.
  • Lance wanted that fast-break dunk on Porzingis sooo bad. (See below).
  • Stunningly strong finish from Vic. He then made the free throw to complete the three-point play. (video below).
  • Great to see Thad Young shoot with a healthy left wrist. He kept him from shooting over the second half of last season. Now he’s shooting well and with ease from deep.
  • This is a nice bounce-back game for Darren Collison. After just two points on 1-of-9 shooting in Philly, he posted his third double-double of the season – and then some. 16 points, 10 assists, five rebounds.
  • Is Spike Lee still popular? He’s just annoying sitting (and jumping out of his seat) courtside at MSG.
  • Porzingis is such a joy to watch. He scores with ease and is a force on the defensive end. He scored seven straight points over the final 1:43 of the third 12 (84-72) of the Pacers.
  • Big 3-pointer from Thad Young, snapping a 9-0 scoring run by Porzingis. 4-for-4 from 3-point land. That may be a key sequence in the Pacers maintaining their distance, now 16 points with 10 minutes to play.
  • 22-10 start to the 4th by the Knicks knotted the game at 94 with 3:45 left. Knicks tightened their defense and weren’t allowing easy buckets.
  • M-V-P chants for Porzingis as he completed the and-1 at the free throw line. And for good reason. He scored 40 points, a new career high. (26 in the second half.) That’s up from 38, which he set three games ago. He also had eight rebounds and six blocks.
  • 7-0 Knicks run gave them the lead for good. Remember Thad’s back-to-back 3s? That put them up 16 with 9:49 left. Then, the Knicks outscored them 32-11.
  • Nate McMillan postgame: “We expected them to come out and tighten up their pressure and make some adjustments. … Offensively, we just didn’t execute. We didn’t make the right reads.
  • “They dominated the second half. As a team, they came out and were the aggressors.”
  • Inside the numbers: Pacers outrebounded 46-34, and just four assists in the final frame – when they shot 38 percent to the Knicks’ 58 percent (11 of 19).
  • The Pacers fall to 5-5, going 1-2 on this three-game road trip. The Knicks (5-4) have won five of their last six games.
  • Up next: Return home, after playing six of their first 10 games, to host New Orleans (5-5) on Tuesday.

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