On the other hand, the Knicks were largely feeble on offense – Iman Shumpert and recently returning Amar’e Stoudemire accounting for just four points in 55 combined minutes of play. Carmelo Anthony once again led all New York scorers with 24 points. But Anthony fouled out in the fourth period before he could lead any meaningful Knicks comeback. All told, New York committed 29 personal fouls – with Tyson Chandler and Stoudemire each getting hit with technicals. In fact, the trio of Chandler, Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin had a total of nine fouls by halftime – three each. This effectively de-fanged their defensive efforts in the second half.
The Pacers, taking the Knicks’ lack of composure in stride, went on a 9-2 run to end the first period, and New York never threatened again. And in Indiana’s current five-game home playoff win streak, they’ve won each game by double-digits.
The saga of the Knicks’ J.R. Smith continues with his subpar series performance – though he did contribute 19 points Tuesday evening. Overall, he’s shooting 28% from the floor, having hit only 18 of 64 shots over the last four games. TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who has previously asserted that Smith’s relative absence from the scoreboard has placed an unfair burden on Anthony, remarked Tuesday night that Smith's just played too tentatively since his first-round suspension and that at this rate, he likely won't show up for the remainder of the series. Smith, though, has at least one more opportunity to confound the critics with Thursday night’s game at Madison Square Garden. For Smith and New York, it’s win or go home.