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(Wednesday, February 20th)
Final Score: Indiana 125, New York 91
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Paul George scored 27 points as the Indiana Pacers got their post All-Star break schedule off to a roaring start with a 125-91 trouncing of the New York Knicks from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
George added eight rebounds while making good on 11-of-19 field goal attempts in leading Indiana to its highest scoring output of the season. David West contributed 18 points and nine boards to the rout, while Lance Stephenson registered 14 points in a game the Pacers never trailed at any stage.
The win also moved Indiana within just a half-game of the slumping Knicks for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
"There's no better way to come out of the break than to play the team immediately above you in the standings," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel. "We want to close the gap. We want to take the two seed from New York and we want to try to push Miami for the one seed. Any win's a confidence-booster, but especially a big win against a great team against the Knicks."
Tyson Chandler compiled 19 points and 11 rebounds for New York, which limped into the break off consecutive home losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto and mustered a subpar 33.7 shooting percentage against Indiana's stingy defense.
Carmelo Anthony went just 7-of-21 from the field in finishing with 15 points, over 13 below his season average.
"We definitely have to get it together," said Chandler. "If we want to accomplish the things that we've talked about, we have to play a lot better than this. [Indiana] played like a team tonight. We got our [behind's] whipped."
The night would start off poorly for the Knicks, who missed seven of their first eight shots as Indiana opened the contest on an 8-2 run, and only got worse from there on.
A George three-pointer ignited a 7-0 spurt that staked Indiana to a 22-10 lead with under four minutes to go in the first quarter, and the Pacers entered the second owning a 30-18 advantage after shooting better than 61 percent from the field in the opening stanza.
The Knicks briefly got the margin under double digits when Steve Novak knocked down a trey to begin the second quarter, but Indiana countered with a 13-2 flurry to break the game open. Orlando Johnson tallied eight points during the surge, which he capped with a long-range bucket that put the Pacers up by a 43-23 count less than three minutes into the frame.
Indiana would continue to pour it on prior to the intermission. The differential swelled to 26 points following a 10-1 burst that made the score 56-30, and the Pacers were ahead by as many as 32 before cruising into the break with a commanding 74-44 lead, easily the team's highest scoring total for a half this season.
George put up 20 points over the first two quarters, while the Knicks went just 6-of-21 from the floor during a forgettable second period and finished the half a woeful 1-of-15 from three-point distance.
The outcome would never be in doubt at any time in the second half, with New York getting only as close as 23 points down after a 10-0 fourth-quarter run brought the Atlantic Division leaders within 106-83 with under 7 1/2 minutes to go.
Indiana then ripped off the next 10 points to regain control, however.
Knicks guard J.R. Smith was ejected with 2:51 left in the third quarter after being assessed a second technical foul for arguing with an official ... The loss was New York's most lopsided of the season, surpassing a 131-103 setback at Houston on Nov. 23 ... Indiana's previous high point total in a game this season came in a 115-107 overtime decision over New Orleans on Nov. 21 ... The Pacers also set a season-best for points in a quarter after dropping in 44 during the second ... New York ended the night 5-for-28 from three-point range.
02/20 23:24:04 ET