>> Roy Hibbert is back, not to his old self but his new. Sure, the 24 points and 12 rebounds were nice, the fact he scored a postseason career-high against one of the best interior defenders in the league, and was the dominant offensive force in the game. But his postgame performance was even more encouraging, and very likely the most entertaining part of the evening.
>> He brought a monocle – yes, a monocle, as in Colonel Wilhelm Klink – to the press conference dais, perhaps hoping to make a fashion statement (or possibly to tweak others around the league that have turned lens-free glasses into a trendy look for the cameras). Alas, he did not wear it at the advice, or quite possibly threats, of his more media-savvy teammates. But still.
>> Seriously, of all the things I thought I might have to Google after this game, I had to check the spelling of monocle?
>> He also mocked himself for failing to block a shot. “I’m pretty disappointed in myself,” he said. “That’s why they pay me the big bucks, I guess. I’m messing up my average.”
>> This was the Hibbert that captured the hearts, minds and imagination of the public as he was in the process of breaking through last season, not the sullen, withdrawn personality that mirrored his vexing lack of productivity the first half of this year. Only now he’s a year older, better for having made it over that hurdle, and appears thoroughly comfortable in his own skin.
>> Which, by the way, is a source of great discomfort to the Knicks. “He kind of had his way tonight and that’s got to change,” said New York Coach Mike Woodson. “I thought he was the best player on the floor tonight.”
>> Jim O’Brien retired, right? The Pacers didn’t hire him as an offensive consultant? How else to explain 33 attempts from the 3-point line by the Pacers? They hit their first three tries in the opening minutes, which turned out to be fool’s gold. They wound up making 7-for-26 the rest of the way. Paul George, all by himself, was 2-for-12. “I don’t really like taking 33 threes,” said Frank Vogel, “but the way this (Knicks) defense plays, that’s what they’re giving us.”
>> I’m no Bobby Knight, but if you’re shooting the shots the defense wants, and not the shots you want, you’re doing something wrong.
>> Which also applies to the Knicks, by the way. The most prolific 3-point offense in NBA history produced season lows in attempts (11) and makes (three). And one of those came from Amar’e Stoudemire on a prayer at the end of the third quarter, his only attempt of the year. “We weren’t even looking at the three,” said Woodson. “I’m concerned with our pace and how we’re flowing into things. We’re talking it up … we looked slow and we’ve got to figured it out.”
>> Here’s a stat no one anticipated: the Pacers have made more 3-pointers (26) than the Knicks (20) in the series this far.
>> This one probably doesn’t surprise you much: both teams shot 35 percent, and both had more turnovers than assists.
>> J.R. Smith was sick, missed the morning shootaround with a high fever, and probably shouldn’t have played. He had nine points on 4-for-12 shooting and the Knicks clearly would’ve been better off going with Steve Novak, or possibly John Starks.
>> Stoudemire’s return didn’t exactly register on the Richter scale. In his first game since knee surgery in March, he played nine minutes and scored seven points and pulled two rebounds. Yawn.
>> Classy move by Vogel, opening his post-game presser by dedicating the win to the late Paul Furimsky, one of the lifetime members of the Pacers stats crew, who passed away last week.
>> Regular-season attendance was disappointing, but the fans are bringing it in the playoffs. Every home game has sold out and this crowd was so raucous, it evoked memories of the old Pacers-Knicks series of the 1990s.
>> It just seemed wrong that Spike Lee and John Starks were in the building, but not Reggie Miller. That will have to wait till Game 4, when Miller will be here with the TNT crew.