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Kristaps Porzingis scores 40 as New York Knicks rally past Indiana Pacers

By Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange
Kristaps Porzingis scores 40 as New York Knicks rally past Indiana Pacers
New York Knicks Kristaps Porzingis dunks the basketball in the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 27, 2017. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- For the second time in three days, it took until the mid-fourth quarter for Madison Square Garden to come alive.

Once it did, though, the legendary arena rocked as it hasn't in years.

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And this time, the New York Knicks were coming back from a 19-point deficit instead of trying to hold onto a big lead.

The Knicks eventually overcame Indiana on Sunday night for a 108-101 win after the Pacers led by more than 10 points for much of the game.

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With 3:26 remaining, Kristaps Porzingis hit a leaning jumper while drawing a foul. He drew chants of "MVP! MVP!" as he sank the free throw, giving New York its first lead since just over three minutes remained in the first quarter.

Soon after, he capped off one of the great all-around NBA performances in more than three decades, finishing with a career-high 40 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, as the Knicks (5-4) won for the fifth time in six games.

Porzingis, who added eight rebounds, six blocks and two 3-pointers -- the first 40-5-5-2 NBA performance since 1983-84 -- exploded for 10 points in a five-minute stretch to start the final quarter, which the Knicks entered trailing 84-72.

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Porzingis made 15 of 24 shots from the field and hit 8 of 9 free throws, concluding a week in which he also put up games of 38 (then a career high) and 37 points.

"He's got great confidence when he's shooting," Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We figured out a way to get him the ball. He's playing great. On defense, he came in there and got one really good block. Can't argue with the way he's playing."

Tim Hardaway Jr. (16 points) and rookie first-round pick Frank Ntilikina (10) were the only other Knicks to score in double figures, though Enes Kanter added nine points and 18 rebounds.

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Indiana (5-5) finished with five players in double figures, including Thaddeus Young, who scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Center Myles Turner had 15 points in his return to the starting lineup, and Domantas Sabonis, whom Turner replaced in the lineup, had 16 off the bench. Victor Oladipo had 17 points and Darren Collison added 15 and 10 assists for the Pacers, who have lost two straight.

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"We expected them to come out and tighten up their pressure," Indiana coach Nate McMillan said. "We didn't execute in the second half. Porzingis took over in the second quarter; we gave up a 36-point (fourth) quarter. They were the aggressors and wanted it a little bit more."

After getting off to hot starts the previous two games, the Knicks (5-4) struggled on offense early against the Pacers but surged late to finish the game shooting 50 percent from the field. Indiana shot 46.8 percent on field-goal attempts.

Indiana claimed a 33-25 first-quarter lead after holding New York to 43 percent shooting while shooting 58 percent from the field.

The Pacers had five players with five or more points in the quarter, including eight for Sabonis.

New York shot slightly better in the second quarter, trimming the lead to as little as six before Indiana went on a late surge behind Turner, who scored nine points in the quarter and seven during a late two-minute stretch.

Jarrett Jack gave the Knicks something to smile about heading into the locker room, hitting a runner as time expired to cut Indiana's lead to 62-49 at the half.

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"We're at a point now that whoever we step in the lines against, we feel confident we can beat them," Jack said. "If we play the style we played tonight, aggressive, in-your-face defense and if we get the ball moving and executing the offense, we have some tools that can make us pretty tough to deal with."

NOTES: New York, which has yet to leave home during November, continues its home stretch on Tuesday against the Charlotte Hornets. ... Indiana first-round pick T.J. Leaf missed the game with a sprained ankle sustained Friday against Philadelphia. ... The Pacers return to Indiana to face the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday after concluding a three-game road swing. ... With the win, New York owns an 87-75 advantage in the all-time series. ... F Kristaps Porzingis is off to the hottest start in Knicks history, with 272 points through nine games, eclipsing Bernard King's record of 264 points in 1984-85.

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