Lance Stephenson scored 14 points with five rebounds for the Pacers. (Photo: Frank McGrath)

Lance Stephenson scored 14 points with five rebounds for the Pacers. (Photo: Frank McGrath)

Indianapolis (TSN) – 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.

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.

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.

Notes: 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.

Frank Vogel
“Obviously a good win to come out of the break. We have to understand it’s just one win. The Knicks didn’t have it tonight. Every team in this league has nights like this. They scare you to death with how they play. They’re explosive if you don’t play them the right way. I have the upmost respect for their team. Any win is a confidence booster but against a great team like the Knicks it’s a big boost. Anytime there is a blowout teams get edgy. I wouldn’t look into it any more than that. We have flexibility. We play big but we can match up with small. (On Lance Stephenson) You look at him play every night, he has the energy every night.”

George Hill
“Anytime, I think, that we go out there and have fun and play good solid basketball on both ends of the court, that’s all you can ask from this team. So you have to tip your hat to us. We’ve been saying all year long we want to be the best defensive team in the NBA, and that’s what we pride ourselves on. Coach has been saying all year that if we continue to share the ball and trust each other and trust the pass, we can be a dominant offensive team. It just showed all night that we buckled down on the defensive end and we shared the ball on the offensive end. It resulted in a win. (On looking ahead) It’s just one game. It means nothing if we lay an egg on Friday. We’ll enjoy the win tonight and then focus tomorrow to get ready for Detroit.”

Paul George
“The way we approached practice coming back from the All-Star break was great. We really got after it the first day. A lot of times you get a little rusty and practice isn’t the same as you’ve been playing all season long. But we came back and it seemed like we had a step. (On the big lead in the game) We didn’t really get too caught up in it. The Knicks are a team that can put points up fast, so we had that in the back of our minds that we had to continue to play solid. (On the team’s approach since the break) We challenged the team. We want to move up. We want to eventually take the two-spot and see if we can challenge for the first seed.”


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