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New York Knicks pull out win over Indiana Pacers

By Jeff Washburn, The Sports Xchange
New York Knicks pull out win over Indiana Pacers
New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- Frustration and inconsistency have been common bonds this season for the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers.

All-Star Carmelo Anthony took out some of that frustration Monday night, leading the Knicks to a 109-103 victory over the struggling Pacers in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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Anthony hit a baseline jumper with 23.4 seconds remaining and Courtney Lee sank four consecutive free throws during the final 15.1 seconds in New York's first victory in Indianapolis since March 17, 2012.

Anthony led the Knicks (20-26) with 26 points and Derrick Rose had 20 points and six assists. Lee, an Indianapolis native, and Willy Hernangomez each scored 14 and Justin Holiday had 13.

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"That's a very big win, an important win," said Anthony, who along with Lee and Rose were a collective 20 of 21 from the free throw line. "We had a nice lead. They came all the way back and tied it, and then we regrouped and had the composure to make the plays we needed to make to win it at the end.

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"Our composure and our execution down the stretch were really good. It feels good. We should be proud of ourselves."

Paul George led Indiana (22-22) with 31 points and seven rebounds, Myles Turner had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Al Jefferson added 13 points off the bench.

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George made two free throws with 42 seconds left to tie it at 103, but New York scored the game's final six points to snap a two-game losing streak.

Indiana has lost three in a row and fell to .500 despite having played one of the NBA's easiest schedules to date.

It's the fourth time this season Indiana has lost after leading by 10 points or more. The Knicks outscored the Pacers 64-41 during the middle quarters.

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"We've been losing close games, and if we lose another one like that, it is tough and probably like Kryptonite," New York coach Jeff Hornacek said. "It was big to win that one. It stops the bleeding a little bit for us to get back on the winning way.

"But we can't be tentative in the last six minutes of a game. We still need to attack. If you don't have a good shot, then come back and make a play. We slowed it down a little bit too much."

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An Anthony basket in the closing seconds gave New York an 86-75 lead with 12 minutes remaining. Anthony had 21 through 36 minutes and Rose had 18.

"All of these games have been like a learning experience, even the close ones we have lost," Rose said. "It seems like we have lost 10, 15 or 20 games like that. They just make you a better team."

Three free throws from Lee capped a 10-0 Knicks run and gave New York a 75-60 lead with 8:09 remaining in the third quarter. Layups by Rose and Joakim Noah and a Kristaps Porzingas 3-pointer contributed to the 10-0 burst.

"Each group that enters the game has to be ready," said George, who was only 3 of 10 from 3-point range. "That's just what it comes down to. We can't have any drops during the game."

With Holiday and Hernangomez each scoring 10 points, New York made 13 of 20 shots from the field in the second quarter and outscored the Pacers 40-24 to lead 62-58 through 24 minutes.

"That second quarter was a huge quarter," Indiana coach Nate McMillan said. "We were fouling and allowing them to march to the free throw line. When you play like that, you've got to make plays down the stretch."

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Indiana got 13 first-quarter points from George to lead 34-22 through one quarter. Anthony had 12 points in the opening quarter and 17 for the half. George finished the half with 19 points.

New York shot 52.6 percent from the field in the first half (20 of 38) and Indiana shot 44.9 percent (22 of 49). The Knicks outrebounded the Pacers 24-17 during the first 24 minutes.

NOTES: The Knicks were without F Lance Thomas (fractured left orbit). ... The Pacers were without G Rodney Stuckey (sore left hamstring). ... Indiana made a starting lineup change, inserting G C.J. Miles in place of Glenn Robinson III. ... The Knicks and the Pacers each came in having lost two in a row. ... Indiana F Paul George leads the NBA in free throw percentage (92.9). ... New York ranks third in rebounding (45.9) and four in blocks per game (5.7). ... The Pacers are second in free throw percentage (81.5) and third in steals (8.7). ... Beginning with the 2012-2013 season, Indiana has won 12 of the 15 most recent meetings with the Knicks. ... New York had not won at Indiana since March 17, 2012. ... Indiana C Al Jefferson came in having made 24 of 38 shots from the field during the past four games and is averaging 14.3 points in those games.

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