Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Determined Knicks Denied

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Determined Knicks Denied

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- When the Knicks last saw the Indiana Pacers, it was Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and New York's last remembrance is the celebration at Conseco Fieldhouse as it headed to a solemn visitors' locker room, season done.

If that was an upset, Indiana's 103-96 win Wednesday night wasn't. The Pacers came into Madison Square Garden with a 9-1 record, while the Knicks have been hanging on to hope by a thread.

Coach Mike Woodson didn't want the Knicks to think about the Pacers' success this year. He wanted them to look at the Pacers' start to last season, when they were 3-6 before advancing to the conference finals.

For 48 minutes, the Knicks seemed to grasp the message. Playing with a fire that hasn't been seen this season -- and certainly not seen on their home court -- they fought to the fourth-quarter buzzer. The only problem was the game didn't end there. Call it an ill-advised foul or a bad call, but Paul George hit three free throws in the final seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime, and the Knicks just couldn't hang on.

The Knicks got a performance from Carmelo Anthony that echoed last year's efforts -- even drawing a chant of "M-V-P" from the crowd down the stretch -- with 30 points and 18 rebounds. J.R. Smith chipped in with 21 points, and Beno Udrih delivered an unlikely 19 - - including a pair of desperation shots down the stretch. But George, with 35 points (21 after the third quarter) was too much to overcome.

Udrih gave the Knicks an 87-86 lead with 1:21 to play when he drove the lane, jumped while looking to pass, and with no options, flicked the ball over his shoulder and into the basket. The Knicks then survived a pair of open three-point attempts by George Hill that misfired, before Anthony hit a pair from the line with 9.2 seconds left.

But with 5.2 seconds left in regulation, George attempted a three- pointer that missed badly, but referee Joey Crawford whistled Iman Shumpert for a foul. Even on replays, it was difficult to tell if Shumpert grazed his elbow, but George went to the line and calmly hit all three shots to tie the score. …

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