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Pacers dominate third quarter in rout of Knicks

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INDIANAPOLIS — Victories, especially lopsided wins have been difficult to attain for the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers scored a combined 67 points during the second and third quarters Thursday night on their way to a 103-82 victory against the New York Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers (17-31) made 14 of 23 field-goal tries in the second quarter and 15 of 23 in the third, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, outscoring New York by 35 during that 24-minute window.

Indiana’s 21-point margin of victory is its largest this season in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Pacers’ 53.2 shooting percentage (42 of 79) is their best through 48 games.

“This game was about getting stops,” said Pacers forward Solomon Hill, who helped limit All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to 7-of-16 shooting. “Then, we were taking good shots on our end. They got in a rhythm early on, but then we stayed with it. Our persistence paid off, and we got the W.”

Guard Rodney Stuckey led Indiana with 22 points while center Roy Hibbert added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony had 18 and forward Lou Amundson added 17 for the Knicks (9-38), who are an NBA-worst 3-21 on the road.

“We were much more aggressive to begin the second half,” said Hibbert, who contributed 10 points and six rebounds in Indiana’s big third quarter. “At this point, every game is a big game for us as we try to get into the playoffs.”

The Pacers blew this one wide open by sinking 10 of their first 11 third-quarter field goal attempts, including five field goals from Hibbert, extending a five-point halftime lead to 76-56 with 6:36 remaining in the period.

Consecutive 3-pointers from guard C.J. Watson and Stuckey and then another Stuckey field goal created the 20-point lead just 5:24 into the second half.

Indiana continued to dominate, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Solomon Hill on its way to an 84-59 advantage at the 3:50 mark. By quarter’s end, the Pacers enjoyed an 89-61 lead.

Coach Frank Vogel liked the way the Pacers defended New York’s triangle offense.

“We defended the triangle well, especially seeing it for the first time for some of our guys,” Vogel said. “Really, it simply was a matter of good execution on both ends of the court. I thought Lavoy Allen did a nice job on the glass while he was in there.”

Vogel also credited the Pacers’ 50 points in the paint as a factor in pulling away.

“We know (the Knicks) are a little thin up front, and they are a team that also likes to guard the post straight up,” Vogel said. “We had an advantage going inside, and Roy got into a rhythm. We also made some 3-point shots, which helped open that up.”

Indiana outrebounded New York, 49-33.

“We couldn’t sustain the energy and the effort necessary to compete,” New York coach Derek Fisher said, “Their size started to wear us down a little bit, and we missed not having a couple of bodies in the paint tonight. They had more juice than us tonight, and they were the better team.

“In the second quarter when the game turned, we couldn’t get the separation we had initially. They have a lot of size up front, and that caused some problems.”

Amundson said the game simply got away from the Knicks in the third quarter.

“It was bad,” Amundson said. “They came out and hit shots and got a lot of confidence. It seemed like they came out with more effort and with more energy. Defensively, they had their way with us.”

Indiana used a 32-point second quarter to seize a 54-49 halftime lead, charging back from a 29-22 deficit through the first 12 minutes when the Knicks made 10 of their first 13 field goal attempts.

The Pacers got a big boost from their non-starters, who outscored the New York bench 23-7 during the first two quarters, including eight points and five rebounds from Allen. Allen, however, suffered a slight right knee injury late in first half action and did not return.

Stuckey’s 11 points paced Indiana during the opening half, while Anthony had 16 and Amundson scored 14 to lead the Knicks’ opening half scoring.

Each team shot well in the first two quarters. Indiana was 21 of 40 for 52.5 percent, and New York was 20 of 39 for 51.3 percent. The Pacers dominated the rebounding category during first half play, 25-17.

NOTES: The Knicks were without F/C Amare Stoudemire (sprained left ankle), F Travis Wear (strained left hip), C Cole Aldrich (confused left shin) and F/C Andrea Bargnani (strained right calf) on Thursday night. … The Pacers assigned 6-foot-11 rookie C Shayne Whittington to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League. He has played in 13 games for the Pacers, averaging 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds after signing in July as an undrafted free agent out of Western Michigan. … G George Hill was in the original starting lineup for the Pacers but was replaced by F Solomon Hill. Hill played 12 minutes and scored eight points.

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