Defense, Anthony’s shot leads Knicks past Pacers

The Knicks continued their winning ways by defeating the Indiana Pacers 110-109 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Here’s a quick recap of the game:

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Despite all of the criticism of New York’s defense, the Knicks held Indiana without a basket in the final 3:31 of the game by coming up with some huge stops. The Knicks were trailing 109-103 at that point, and would score the next seven points, the last of which came on a Carmelo Anthony 20-footer with Danny Granger draped all over him with 4.9 seconds left. Anthony then blocked a Granger’s potential game-winning shot, and Darren Collison missed the put back as the Knicks won their seventh straight.

If the Knicks want to go anywhere in the playoffs, they’ll need defense like the kind they played tonight. With 43 seconds left and the Knicks trailing 109-106, Shawne Williams was caught on a switch on Collison, but still managed to steal the ball. That started a fast break that ended with a Landry Fields slam. On the ensuing possession, the Knicks again put on a defensive display, forcing Collison into a tough 18-footer with the shot clock expiring. The Pacers would score just 13 points in the final period.

In other words, it wasn’t pretty, but New York came up with the stops it needed.

WHAT IT MEANS: With the win, the Knicks improved to 42-38, the first time since the 2000-01 season that the Knicks will finish the season with a winning record. New York also went a full game up on the idle 76ers, who will play the Magic on Monday. The Celtics lost to the Heat earlier in the day, which means that the Knicks would now play Boston if the playoffs were to start today.

ORANGE WATCH: Anthony was sensational again, scoring 34 points while adding five assists and four rebounds. He also played some solid defense on Granger, who finished with 20 points, but shot 7 of 21 from the field.

STAR GAZING: Chauncey Billups chipped in 21 points and seven assists, while Toney Douglas enjoyed another solid game off the bench with 14 points. The Pacers had five players in double digits, including Tyler Hansbrough (14), Roy Hibbert (19), Collison (16) and Mike Dunleavy (14). TJ Ford played for the first time since Jan. 28 after he was activated in place of Lance Stephenson, who was deactivated after violating team rules.

INJURY REPORT: Amare Stoudemire missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. He continues to be listed as day-to-day, but could be back as early as Tuesday.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Knicks will close out their home schedule on Tuesday when they host the Eastern Conference regular season champion Chicago Bulls.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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