The Knicks shot marginally better than the Pacers, but both teams were still in 35 percent field-goals-made territory. The ugliness mercifully ended at 82-71: no one won that game. No one.
The Pacers out-rebounded the Knicks and out-shot them from three-point range and that's basically your ballgame. If you feel like crying, take a look at this (full game) shot chart:
If you feel like laughing, look at the quarter-by-quarter breakdowns. The fourth quarter was a real barnburner.
"Offensively, we just didn't have anything," coach Mike Woodson said. "I thought defensively, we hung in there and did what we had had to do, but we just didn't have any offensive pop and we have to figure that out."
Here's how little pop they had (emphasis added):
- "New York had a chance midway through the third quarter when it closed the deficit to 44-41."
- "Stoudemire's buzzer-beater to end the quarter got the Knicks within 62-51..."
- "The Knicks led once in the game, for just 76 seconds..."
- "After [Roy Hibbert's] tip-in gave the Pacers a 72-57 lead midway through the fourth quarter..."
By default (which is a shame), Hibbert was the star of the game. He finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, three quarters of which came off the offensive glass—in the best performance of his career. He out-muscled the Knicks on both ends of the court.
It's always hard to play chicken or the egg when trying to explain games like this: was it Indiana's defense or the Knicks terrible shooting? Was it Indiana's defense or the Knicks carelessness with the ball? Was it Indiana's pounding the boards or the Knicks offensive rebounding futility.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter how it was accomplished. You can be out-rebounded, or shoot poorly, or be careless with the ball and still have a chance to win ugly. You just can't do all of those things in one game and expect it to turn out any other way than plain ugly.
Photo credit: Getty