Just one day after demolishing the San Antonio Spurs, the New York Knicks came crashing back down to earth with a disappointing loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Indiana, who had lost four of their last five games before annihilating New York, put on a show in front of their home crowd, posting 122 points.
The Knicks simply didnâ€™t show up to play in this contest, lacking energy and offensive efficiency throughout. Scoring just 19 points in the third quarter, they didnâ€™t stand a chance against a Pacers team that shot 37% from three-point range for the game and was hitting on over 40% going into the fourth quarter.
The Pacers finished with a 53.5% success rate from the field, hitting 10 shots from deep as the Knicks connected on just 30% from three-point range and 42% from the field.
With big man Nerlens Noel ruled out, Taj Gibson received the start, and his zero points and four rebounds certainly didnâ€™t replicate Noelâ€˜s production. Mitchell Robinson came off the bench, but he was only able to contribute four points and two rebounds. Not a single Knick was able to record more than eight rebounds in the contest, as Julius Randle led the team while posting 18 points but turning the ball over five times.
Randle was unproductive in the loss, recording a -22 +/-. RJ Barrett was also spotty on defense, despite posting 19 points and hitting on 3-of-5 shots from deep.
Ultimately, if New York is unable to get their act together on defense, it is going to be a long season full of blowout losses. Their offense isnâ€™t capable of keeping up with proficient teams, and with a starting unit like Indianaâ€™s, they didnâ€™t stand a chance.
Every starter for the Pacers record double-digit points, with a high of 23 from Chris Duarte, the rookie out of Oregon, and 22 from Myles Turner, who put on a show in his audition for the Knicks.
Turner was linked with New York at the trade deadline last year and during the off-season. The front office was unable to strike a deal with Indiana, but it is entirely possible they target him at the deadline in a potential move to bolster their interior presence with an elite scorer and rebounding center.
The lack of a true scoring big man has limited New York considerably, and Turner would solve that weakness with ease.