by Dave Spahn / @davespahn
—The Pacers open their final regular season home game of the 2010-2011 season against the Knicks with a starting lineup of Daren Collison, Paul George, Danny Granger, Tyler Hansbrough, and Roy Hibbert. Chauncey Billups, Shawne Williams, Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields, and Sheldon Williams all receive the nod from D’Antoni. Amar’e Stoudemire will not play tonight.
—Hansbrough strikes first blood with a wide open mid-range jumper.
—Granger drains a three in ‘Melo’s face only to have ‘Melo return the favor next time down. This game should shape up to be a NASCAR type game.
—The Pacers are really trying to establish Hansbrough early on, and Hansbrough definitely likes that role. He has six of their first nine points and is out hustling everyone right now.
—Paul George with two quick fouls early and gets taken out of the game. I wonder how the Pacers’ defensive plans will change with George on the bench…
—”Your wifes better!” is chanted by Pacer fans at Sheldon Williams during a free throw. Can you imagine how good his and Candace Parker’s kid is going to be? Scary…
—On a side note, I grew up a town north (Wheaton, Illinois) of Candace Parker’s home town (Naperville, Illinois). She reffed one of my league games in sixth grade, and she signed an autograph for everyone playing the game. None of us really had much to sign, so she signed everyone’s shoes who played in the game. I then turned around the next day and pulled off my own personal Sandlot impression by using the shoes outside and ruined the signature. My friends still make fun of me about it to this day. Anyway, back to the game.
—Hibbert dashes out in transition and gets great position inside on Sheldon Williams. Hibbert creates a completely different dimension to their team when he can beat his man down the floor consistantly.
—Forgot how uptempo the Knicks play until I’ve had to type what I’m seeing. My fingers are going to get a big time workout.
—Knicks doing a great job of drawing fouls tonight. Pacers already have four fouls with 7:43 left.
—Landry Fields impresses me every time I see him. He made a fantastic move by driving through three Pacer defenders and euro-stepped around the last one en route to a smooth looking layup.
—This game turned into a track meet already, 21-19 with 4:50 left.
—Tony Douglas just made an incredibly athletic play that might never be talked about again. He fell down and lost the ball, found it and dribbled his way back up and made a great bounce pass to ‘Melo. That might have been the first time I’ve ever seen Hansbrough outhustled in my life.
—Timeout taken with 2:51 left. I think the officials are even getting tired right now trying to keep up with this games’ pace. 26-22 New York.
—Dunleavy enters the game and within minutes makes a great pass to a slashing Josh McRoberts for a two handed slam, nails a mid range jumper on the next possession, and cuts backdoor for a layup on the following possession.
—Carmelo, however, refuses to be outdone and nails two threes in three possessions to tie the game at 33 to end the quarter. The Pacers need to find a way to stop ‘Melo or they may be in for a long night.
—I’ve said it all year long: teams find themselves in a lot of trouble when Granger decides to attack the rim with concentration. He just powered his way into a layup and a nice assist in two straight possessions.
—Then what does Granger do? Weakly drive to the rim and get his shot blocked. You wonder why coaches don’t have a lot of hair…
—Bad airball by Bill Walker. And when I say bad, I mean REALLY bad. Like the kid who got picked last on the playground and chucked up an eyes closed airball bad. He took that shot from the elbow and it literally looked like a dead duck flying through the air. Knicks are struggling big time with ‘Melo on the bench.
—TJ Ford enters the game at the 9:55 mark and receives a big time cheer from the crowd. Nice to see the Pacer faithful back up Ford after a rough situation this season.
—Ronny Turiaf just rejected Danny Granger’s shot with authority. Granger got the ball back and nailed a three in the same possession. Great play by Turiaf and great recovery by Granger.
—Chauncey Billups showed his top notch awareness by taking the ball right out of Granger’s hands after Billups missed a layup. He then dishes the rock to Eric Brown who flushes down a nice dunk. Dunleavey fires right back with a layup that puts the score at 46-41 Pacers.
—’Melo rejects Dunleavey’s transition layup right into the hands of a hustling Granger who puts in a layup. Great job of running the floor and following up in transition by Granger. 48-43 Pacers with 5:44 left.
—Phenomenal pick and roll action at the top of the key by Dunleavey and McRoberts. Dunleavey drew both defenders and found a cutting McRoberts at the right time. McRoberts’ pump fake drew two defenders in the air and ducked under both of them to grab a bucket and the foul.
—Paul George enters the game at the 4:47 mark and grabs his third foul moments later at the 4:07 mark. The promising rookie just can’t catch a break tonight. Three fouls in three minutes means he needs to get in the film room and figure out the right angles to take on his defensive approach.
—Shawne Williams just darted from across the lane and pounded Darren Collison’s layup attempt off the glass. Extremely athletic play for Williams.
—On a side note, the NBA needs to make a rule that makes players with too similar of names illegal. I mean come on, Shawne Williams and Sheldon Williams? One of them needs a nickname to make things easier…
—56-51 Pacers with 2:53 left in the second.
—Key to this quarter: The Pacers have kept ‘Melo a complete non-factor this quarter. He has 1 point in 11 minutes. Guess the Pacers saw my previous post and decided to listen to me.
—And of course ‘Melo then sees my last comment and nails a triple. I swear he looked me in the eye after he shot it…
—Billups nails a trey of his own to up his three-ball count to four this half. A mishandled pass by Hibbert leading to an off the mark three by ‘Melo ends the half. 67-61 Pacers. I get my much needed rest from typing.
—Anthony to Fields for the first basket after recess. Knicks didn’t lose a beat…
—Darren Collison just made a highlight play by going behind his back and between his legs, knifing through the defense and lays in a nice shot while avoiding the Knick defenders. That’s a move only found in NBA Live.
—Roy Hibbert spins off his defender and slams one home on the opposite side of the rim? Did I see that right?
—Chauncey Billups showing a little flair with a between the legs bounce pass to Sheldon Williams, and Williams misses the contested layup. Great way to say thanks Williams…
—The Pacers have put on a nice display on how to get out in transition the past few possessions. Darren Collison jumped out ahead and put in a layup while Danny Granger connected with Paul George on the ensuing possession.
—Carmelo Anthony has the entire Knick team on his back right now. Without him, the Knicks are down 20.
—Two Roy Hibbert free throws give the Pacers a 73-72 lead with 6:29 left to play.
—Paul George shows his enormous upside with a very bright and athletic play. George faked a shot, dished the ball into Hibbert in the post, faught for position with his defender and blew backdoor for a thunderous jam.
—Carmelo flat out puts the ball in the hoop. His pull up jumper, rom mid range or from three, simply leaves opposing defenders in shock. 78-77 Pacers with 4:06 left in the third.
—I think the Pacers might be a better fit for D’Antoni’s offense than the Knicks. Collison, George, and Granger have thrived in transition all night long. Collison just threw a quick lob to George who did what he does best: send the ball soaring through the hoop and hang on the rim.
—Carmelo Anthony is the definition of a run-killer. He tosses in a bucket every time the Pacers make a crowd pleasing play.
—Absolutely phenomenal help defense by Paul George. He saw his team mess up their defensive assignments and came from across the lane to help out and take a charge on Ronny Turiaf. Great way to make up for lost time in the first half by George. He may be the key to their series against the Chicago Roses (Sorry, I mean the Chicago Bulls).
—Dunleavey with a picture perfect pump fake to get his defender in the air and go right around him for a mid range jumper. Dunleavey provides the Pacers with a MUCH needed scorer off the bench. When he’s hot, the Pacers can compete with a lot of teams.
—Toney Douglass nailed a triple with 26 seconds left that every coach in America would cringe at during the shot and wipe his brow in relief after it goes it.
—Pacers are really rolling right now. Roy Hibbert throws in a nice hook shot with four seconds left to extend the lead to 93-87. Dunleavey shows he plays a little defense too with a steal at halfcourt and dishes out an assist to A.J Price at the buzzer. Pacers lead 96-87 heading into the fourth.
—Dunleavey and Anthony Carter trade baskets to open up the final period. My fingers are moving around like jello right now; I’m running on fumes. I need to prepare myself better for these games. I should do some scouting reports on each team’s pace before I head into the arena and mentally prepare myself. If I had the Knicks every game, I’d have carpal tunnel syndrome without a doubt.
—A Shawne Williams layup extends a 6-0 Knick run to cut the lead to 98-95 with 9:37 left.
—Danny Granger ends the run with a triple to push the Pacers over the century mark. How does Toney Douglas respond? An airball that rivaled Bill Walker’s in the second half. Come on fellas…
—Chauncey Billups visibly shows his frustration on a non-foul call by shoving Daren Collison in transition. That simply cannot happen if the Knicks want a shot at wining this game. 103-97 Pacers with 6:07 left.
—The fourth quarter just has not been very kind to Billups. He played teriffic in the first three but has not shown up at the end. He just had his fadeaway jumper blocked by Collison and his three point attempt blocked by McRoberts in the same possession. Knicks need him to step his game up to make their final push.
—Carmelo. Anthony. Enough said. 105-103 Pacers.
—The Pacers must have forgotten about my previous comments. I guess I’m going to have to state them again. You’d think After his 29th point of the contest the Pacers would figure out that under NO circumstances should anyone leave ‘Melo. Don’t know how much simpler I can be.
—Paul George stepped up to the plate and contested a ‘Melo three that bricks off the side of the iron. What a difference a close out makes…
—Do the Knicks have enough juice left to make a comeback with 1:51 left? 109-105 Pacers.
—Melo just ended up on the wrong end of a rejection from Roy Hibbert. Pacers fail to capitalize on the other end, however, and Chauncey Billups hit one of his two free throws.
—Darren Collison makes a crucial turnover that leads to a Billups-to-Fields dunk. Collison lost the ball behind his back and never saw it again. Lesson: be efficient, not fancy. 109-108 Pacers with 36 seconds left.
—Bad clock management by the Pacers. A Collison fadeaway jumper off one foot cannot be your best option. EVER.
—Carmelo has ice cold veins. He just stared Granger down and nailed a 20 footer in his grill with 4.9 seconds left and pranced off the court with a grin. Not much Granger could do on that one, he was up in his kitchen that whole possession.
—Dunleavey calls a timeout before initially throwing the ball in. ‘Melo then tips Granger’s mid range attempt and Collison proves off the mark on his desperation heave.
—I guess the Knicks did have enough left in the tank to complete the comeback.
—Final score Knicks 110 Pacers 109. Carmelo leads all scorers with 34 points. Granger leads the Pacers with 20 points.
Carmelo Anthony on the impact of this game on their upcoming playoff games: “It was a big game for us, confidence wise, coming down the stretch and finishing the regular season with some big momentum.” Carmelo further noted,”We want to prove it to ourselves that we can be a great defensive team, and these last couple games we’ve been doing that.”
The Knicks extended their winning streak to seven with the win and will be tested at home against the Bulls on Tuesday. The Pacers fly south to Orlando on Wednesday night for their regular season finale.