David West had 20 points, while Roy Hibbert tallied 14 points, eight rebounds and five blocks in the Pacers’ 102-95 win over the Knicks in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference semifinal.
With his team down by six, Carmelo Anthony picked up his fourth foul for New York early in the third quarter. With Anthony on the bench for the duration of the stanza, Indiana built a 16-point advantage by the period’s end and hung on in the final frame for the victory.
Paul George poured in 19 points and D.J. Augustin added 16 in just under 13 minutes of floor time for Indiana, which held a commanding 44-30 rebounding advantage and outscored the Knicks 46-32 in points in the paint.
“I’m very proud of our guys for exhibiting great determination and effort, especially on the defensive end,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. “Offensively guys played with great poise … A complete team effort, I’m very proud of them.”
The Knicks and Pacers met each other three straight years in the playoffs from 1993-95, and then three more times from 1998-00. Those teams split their six series.
Game 2 is slated for Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony netted 27 points but on just 10-of-28 shooting, while grabbing 11 rebounds for New York, which registered its first playoff series win since 2000 when it defeated the Boston Celtics in the first round.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith also struggled from the floor, recording 17 points on 4-of-15 shooting. Raymond Felton finished with 18 points in defeat.
The Knicks were 35-of-81 (43.2 percent) from the field overall.
“They beat us on the glass, they beat us to the loose basketballs out there, the hustle plays, and they outworked us,” Anthony said.
Indiana held a 60-54 cushion when Anthony committed his fourth personal with 7:48 left in the third. The Pacers then closed the quarter on a 21-11 run.
West, Hibbert and George scored four points apiece during the surge, which was capped when Augustin drove in for a layup and swished a 3-pointer from the right wing with 31.5 ticks remaining in the frame to make it 81-65.
Anthony came back to start the fourth and put in six straight points to get New York within 81-71. But back-to-back buckets by Tyler Hansbrough pushed the Pacers’ margin back to 14 and the Knicks never seriously threatened again.
Four consecutive free throws by Anthony and Smith cut the lead to 101-95 with 50.7 seconds left, and Augustin misfired from beyond the arc at the other end.
Smith, though, was way off the mark on a triple attempt, and Augustin split a pair from the charity stripe to seal the outcome.
Felton had 12 points in the opening stanza, which saw the Knicks close it on a 9-0 push as they took a 27-22 edge into the second.
Indiana, though, ratcheted up its defense in the latter stages of the second period, where it used a 13-4 swing to enter the break with a six-point spread.
The Pacers held New York to just two baskets during the final 5:04 of the period, and George nailed a trey with 2.7 seconds left in the half to give Indiana a 52-46 advantage.
NOTES: Lance Stephenson recorded 11 points and 13 boards for the Pacers … Indiana held a 20-10 margin in second-chance points … New York has never won a playoff series when dropping Game 1 at home.