Pacers Drop Third Straight Game, Lose 110-107 to Knicks

Grant Afseth

The Indiana Pacers entered Saturday's matchup with the New York Knicks as shorthanded as they have for any matchup all season. Malcolm Brogdon joined TJ Warren and Caris LeVert on the sidelines, resulting in TJ McConnell being inserted into the starting lineup. It proved to be too much to overcome as they lost 110-107.

Early on, the Pacers played their best basketball of the game. In fact, the first quarter was the only frame in which they broke 30 points or even managed to post a positive scoring differential. 

Indiana scored the initial 8 points of the game and ultimately took a 13-5 lead at the 8:16 mark. A dunk from RJ Barrett with 3:27 left to play cut the Pacers' lead down to 22-19 but they scored 10 consecutive points after that point. 

The Pacers established a 32-23 lead at the end of the opening period and led by as many as 13 points. This was large in part due to their complementary wings stepping up offensively. Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday each provided the Pacers with 8 points within the frame. 

It appeared as though Indiana was continuing the prior momentum they had established from the opening period. The Pacers managed to extend their lead to 16 points after Justin Holiday converted on three free throw attempts at the 7:01 mark of the second quarter -- prompting the Knicks to call a full timeout. 

New York went on to outscore the Pacers by a staggering 24-6 margin to close out the first half. Indiana put together a truly terrible frame worth of offensive execution. They were limited to 20 points on 6-of-16 (37.5%) from the field and came up empty on all five of their three-point attempts. On top of all that, Indiana had seven turnovers, too. 

Neither team managed to create separation in the third quarter as the largest advantage was the five-point lead the Knicks held after RJ Barrett made a free throw with 46.3 seconds left to play. 

The Knicks began the fourth quarter with a mini-run but that quickly deteriorated. After Julius Randle converted on a mid-range jumper, New York gained a nine-point lead with 10:26 remaining in the game. However, the Pacers scored nine consecutive points to tie it up at the 8:36 mark of the period. 

There was a favorable outlook for the Pacers as the fourth quarter was winding down. Myles Turner's made finish with 4:15 left to play had furthered a lead they held to five-points but that did not last. The Knicks immediately answered back with 11 unanswered points. 

"We couldn't stop a nosebleed on that run," McConnell said. "We've got to buckle down and grow up and get some stops."

The Pacers were forced to play from behind throughout the clutch and never managed to overtake the lead. Edmond Sumner's make from deep with 1:48 left to play pulled Indiana within just a single-point but Indiana came up empty on the remainder of their meaningful offensive possessions.

As a result of this loss, the Pacers have now lost three consecutive games after having been out-executed down the stretch by their opponent. Now, they hold a 15-17 record and sit 9th in the Eastern Conference standings. 

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