Knicks complete the comeback to extend winning streak to nine in 109-105 win over Pacers

NBA: Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of those wins that define a season, and the New York Knicks had another one of those wins after making a massive comeback to take down the Indiana Pacers at home. Still without OG Anunoby and playing their third game in four days while being short-handed, they would need a strong showing to slow down the Pacers, who average the most points per game in the NBA. Down 10 to the Pacers in the first quarter, the Knicks would need to respond big, but they wouldn’t hold a lead in the second half until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

Jalen Brunson, who was named to his first-ever All-Star team, would go for 40 points in another incredible showing, guiding the Knicks to their ninth-straight victory in a row.

Jalen Brunson Helps the Knicks Storm Back in Tense Contest

NBA: Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
Feb 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) reacts after a dunk against New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This game was physical, as the Knicks would repeatedly find themselves hacked and swatted at without any foul calls, and it weighed heavy on their offense. New York struggled with efficiency, especially from beyond the arc where they hit just eight of their 38 attempts from downtown. When you shoot 21.1% from three, you expect to lose the game, especially against an offense like Indiana’s that can score plenty of points in a hurry.

Star guard Tyrese Haliburton was ferocious early, adding 15 points and five assists on 60% shooting, with things getting testy between him and Donte DiVincenzo early in the first quarter. The 27-year-old guard would shove Haliburton back, leading to a technical foul and some early bad blood. Nothing seemed to be going right for the Knicks, sure DiVincenzo had 20 points, but he needed 16 three-pointers to get to that point.

Jalen Brunson had the game of his life, hitting 50% of his attempts from the field for 40 points, continuing to be one of the most dominant late-game scorers in the NBA. He’s simply mesmerizing to watch operate, especially in tightly-contested games. The Knicks needed him to be better than great, and he rose to the occasion, even when the Pacers knocked him down (literally).

Tonight he officially made his first-ever All-Star Game, and there’s no better endorsement for his placement among the best players in the NBA than this game. Sure, he’s scored more than 40 before, but Brunson showed that he is the heart and soul of this New York team, and when the game was on the line he was everything you’d ask a superstar to be and more.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
Feb 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) drives to the basket against New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) and guards Josh Hart (3) and Donte DiVincenzo (0) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Hartenstein would have a double-double, scoring 12 points with a team-best 19 rebounds, and coming up with some huge plays for the Knicks in their spirited comeback. He continues to be one of the most impactful centers in the NBA, and the team was lockdown at the rims thanks to his excellent play. Precious Achiuwa would also have a double-double, bringing down 16 rebounds while adding four steals and two blocks, helping to outrebound the Pacers by 16.

Josh Hart would also bring down plenty of rebounds (12), and while he didn’t convert a single field goal, he still provided valuable defense and rebounding that kept the Knicks in the game. The unsung heroes for the Knicks were second-rounders Jericho Sims and Miles McBride, as Sims had a team-best three blocks and McBride would collect 16 points in just 29 minutes on the court, leading the team in plus-minus.

This is a statement win for the Knicks, who now climb to just half a game back of the Milwaukee Bucks for second place in the Eastern Conference standings. New York, you have a dominant basketball team and the Knicks will take on the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.