The Knicks Beat The Pacers To Take A 2-0 Series Lead

The New York Knicks are two wins away from the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite Jalen Brunson missing the entire second quarter with a foot injury and OG Anunoby missing much of the second half with a hamstring injury, New York was able to defend Madison Square Garden in Game 2 with a 130-121 win over the Indiana Pacers.

New York came out on fire as it looked to take a 2-0 series into Game 3 in Indiana. While the two teams felt one another out for the opening few minutes, the Knicks quickly ripped off a 15-3 run that got the Garden on its feet and made the Pacers look rattled.

And then, in less than a minute, that lead disappeared. Following a timeout once the Knicks went up, 24-13, the Pacers came out and ripped off 11 unanswered points in only 48 seconds to tie things back up.

The remainder of the period was hilariously back-and-forth. New York could not miss — it shot 76.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from three in the opening frame — while Indiana hammered them on the offensive glass, securing six offensive boards for seven second-chance points. With Tyrese Haliburton scoring 13 points and Anunoby scoring 12 in the quarter, the two teams were tied up at 36 each.

The Pacers were able to take control of things in the second, in large part due to the extended absence of Brunson, who left the game late in the first quarter and went to the locker room, where he was eventually ruled questionable to return with a sore right foot. With the game turning into a track meet, Brunson’s absence meant that Indiana’s ability to play fast — whether it was in the halfcourt or getting out and running — was a bit much for New York to handle.

As such, the Pacers were able to take a 73-63 lead into the locker room at halftime, with Haliburton bouncing back from his abysmal Game 1 to lead the way with 22 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Obi Toppin went for 13 points off the bench, while Pascal Siakam had 10 points and six rebounds. The Knicks, meanwhile, were led by Anunoby’s 22-point half, while Josh Hart nearly had a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Knicks did get a major boost to start the third, as Brunson emerged from the locker room and was able to take the floor. His return coincided with the Knicks (and their fans) catching fire, while the Pacers struggled to get out of the gate. It didn’t take long for New York to erase their halftime deficit, and thanks to a 21-6 run in which Donte DiVincenzo had 10 points, they found themselves in the driver’s seat midway through the quarter.

The lead got up to nine points, at which point the next bad injury break came for New York: Anunoby, while getting out in transition, awkwardly threw up a layup and immediately held his hamstring. Immediately upon coming out, he made his way down the tunnel and into the locker room, and was eventually ruled out for the remainder of the game.

But despite Anunoby going out, New York was able to hold serve over the rest of the period. They doubled up Indiana in the quarter, and took a 99-91 lead into the fourth.

Right out of the gate in the final quarter, T.J. McConnell started to be a thorn in the Knicks’ side. The Pacers started things out on a 10-3 run, with McConnell scoring six points and hounding Brunson on the defensive end during that stretch.

But Indiana struggled to get the final push necessary to take the lead, in part because of Brunson, who continued to build out his repertoire of big shots in the playoffs down the stretch. That, mixed with the Knicks doing the little things that have gotten them to this point — offensive rebounds that lead to good looks, forcing timely turnovers, etc. — helped them keep control of the lead.

Brunson’s 29 points led the Knicks, while both DiVincenzo and Anunoby had 28. Hart chipped in 19 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists. Haliburton led the Pacers with 34 points and nine assists, while Toppin gave them 20 points off the bench.

The series will now make its way to Indiana, where the Pacers will look to even things up with two games in their home building. Game 3 will take place on Friday night at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN.