New York, NY – After struggling against the Indiana Pacers' formidable defense in the opener of their playoff series, the New York Knicks got even by beating their opponent at their own game.
Carmelo Anthony racked up 22 of his 32 points in the second half, and the Knicks completely shut the Pacers down over the final 15 minutes to come up with a 105-79 Game 2 victory at Madison Square Garden that knotted the Eastern Conference semifinal set at 1-1.
New York earned the split by virtue of a mammoth 36-4 run that turned a two- point deficit into a 98-68 lead with 3:30 left to play, with the Pacers failing to make a single field goal over that nearly 12-minute sequence. Indiana misfired on 14 consecutive attempts from the floor during that stretch until Orlando Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 3:09 remaining.
The Pacers shot just 25 percent for the fourth quarter and were plagued by turnovers all game long, committing 21 giveaways that the Knicks converted into 32 points.
"The big key in the game was our play on the defensive end, stopping them and getting out in transition," Anthony said. "We got some easy baskets, and just being patient out there were the most important things."
Iman Shumpert added 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting to help the Knicks bounce back from Sunday's 102-95 loss in Game 1, with Raymond Felton contributing 14 points in the triumph.
Paul George topped Indiana with 20 points, but had only five after halftime. David West and George Hill finished with 13 and 12, respectively, in the setback.
The series will next shift to Indianapolis, with Game 3 set for Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Prior to their epic scoring drought, the Pacers clawed back from a 13-point second-quarter deficit to claim a 64-62 edge on Hill's triple with 3:28 left in the third. Anthony took over from there, however, accounting for the game's next five points and dropping in 11 more in the final period -- just two less than Indiana managed as a team.
"We didn't close out the third out well and it gave them some momentum going into the fourth. Carmelo got hot in the fourth and we were just scrambling and chasing them around that entire fourth quarter," said George.
New York held a 72-66 lead entering the fourth quarter, then began the frame with 20 unanswered points while the Pacers fell apart offensively to put the contest out of reach.
Pablo Prigioni netted the first five points of that deciding surge and Anthony scored 11 of the next 13, with the league scoring champ's last bucket of the night a 25-footer that staked New York to a commanding 90-66 advantage with six minutes left.
Turnover problems helped put Indiana in an early hole. Seven of the club's miscues occurred in the opening quarter of play, with New York netting 14 points off those errors en route to building a nine-point lead by period's end. Two of the turnovers came during a 7-0 Knicks' run that snapped an 11-11 tie, and New York took a 29-20 cushion into the second after Anthony knocked down a jumper with 1.8 ticks on the clock.
The margin grew further during the second quarter, with Shumpert capping an 8-0 surge with a shot just inside the arc that created a 47-34 lead 3:46 prior to intermission. However, Indiana scored the final eight points of the half and pulled within 47-42 on a George triple with 1:16 to go before the break.
George, who dropped in a game-best 15 points over the initial two quarters, buried another trey early in the third quarter to trim the lead to 49-47. The Pacers drew even around four minutes later, when Roy Hibbert hit a short hook with 5:24 left in the third that forged a 58-58 deadlock.
New York finished with a 52-40 advantage in points in the paint and outrebounded Indiana by a 37-35 count. In Game 1, the Pacers had a 44-30 edge on the glass and outscored New York 46-32 in the lane ... The Knicks have held the opposition under 90 points in each of their five wins during this year's playoffs, and went 26-2 during the regular season when keeping their foe under that mark ... Hibbert pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds (five offensive), but managed just six points in 36 minutes ... Kenyon Martin contributed 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting off the bench for New York ... Three-point specialist Steve Novak returned to action for the Knicks after missing the club's last two playoff tests with back spasms, playing five minutes in the fourth quarter.