INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — George Hill scored a season-high 21 points, and Rodney Stuckey added 17 to help Indiana rout the struggling Knicks 105-82 on Wednesday night.
The Pacers (26-34) won their third straight, matching their longest winning streak of the season. And with nine wins in 11 games, Indiana also moved a little closer to the final playoff spot in the East.
Andrea Bargnani led New York (12-48) with 25 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 13, but the Knicks have lost 10 of their last 12.
This one was never really close. Indiana jumped to 30-19 lead after one quarter, methodically pulled away in the second and closed the half on a 9-2 spurt to take a 65-41 lead.
New York got as close as 15 early in the third quarter, but Indiana answered with six straight. New York never got closer than 18 again.
Indiana made it look easy despite playing without its two All-Stars. Paul George remains out with a broken right leg, while Roy Hibbert got an extra day of rest. Still, four players scored in double figures as the Pacers shot 47.5 percent from the field. The defense forced 16 first-half turnovers, which resulted in a 19-0 scoring advantage.
The Pacers wound up outscoring New York 23-6 in points off turnovers.
For the Knicks, it was another dismal night.
They again played without Carmelo Anthony (knee surgery) and Jose Calderon (sore left Achilles’ tendon), and Indiana wasted no time taking advantage.
The Pacers scored the first seven points, extended the lead to 22-13 lead midway through the first quarter and pushed the margin to 11 after one. Indiana methodically pulled away in the second, using a 7-0 run to make it 55-34.
New York’s only serious comeback attempt came at the start of the second half when it used a 12-3 spurt to close to 68-53. But Indiana quickly rebuilt a 21-point lead to seal it.
Knicks: Indianapolis has been an unwelcome venue for New York lately. The Knicks have lost six straight regular-season games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, including twice this season by margins of 21 and 23 points. Two years ago, Indiana eliminated New York in the Eastern Conference semifinals in Indy, too.
Pacers: Why did coach Frank Vogel give Hibbert the night off? Vogel wants to manage Hibbert’s late-season minutes better this season than last. So with Wednesday’s game the only one on the docket between Sunday and Friday, Vogel seized the opportunity. Hibbert is expected to return to the starting lineup Friday night. Guard C.J. Watson also sat out Wednesday.
Knicks: host Pacers on Saturday.
Pacers: host Bulls on Friday.
This article was written by Michael Marot from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.