Pacers squander another late lead in loss to Knicks: Running Thoughts
It was a competitive, close game throughout. The Pacers were up by six with 1:56 left, then didn't make another field goal and lost to the red-hot Knicks.
Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 109-106 loss to the New York Knicks Sunday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Second-year guard Chris Duarte is back after missing the past 21 games with a left ankle sprain suffered against the Miami Heat.
Before tonight, Duarte played two games with the Mad Ants last week to ramp up his workload. “In terms of his body, conditioning, how he’s feeling, things have gone a good direction so he will be active tonight,” coach Rick Carlisle said.
I had to ask Carlisle about their failure to close Friday night in Cleveland as the offense stuck and the ball wasn’t moving. It turned to be relevant in this game as well. “We need to keep generating pace, movement and things like that,” he said. “The challenge will be the same tonight because New York is a great defensive team, they’re well-coached and they’re going to try to do some things to make it more of a grind.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau called the Pacers “a dangerous team.” He singled out several players, including their second-round pick. “I think Nembhard was a great pickup for them.”
This is the Pacers’ final home game before Christmas. Their next three games are on the road: Boston (Dec. 21), Miami (23rd) and New Orleans (26th).
And it’s Star Wars Night. You surely know by now that Myles Turner is a big fan. So he brought it with his planned outfit.
Welcome back, Christian Endrigian. He worked in the Pacers’ basketball office for a year and last month, joined the Knicks as their manager of team operations.
Rev It Up: Indiana Fever guard Lexie Hull, the sixth overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft.
Before team introductions, team president Kevin Pritchard presented Bennedict Mathurin with the hardware for being named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for the first month of the season.
4:09: Isaiah Jackson — not Jalen Smith — is the Pacers’ first center off the bench, replacing Turner. Smith is averaging 16.6 minutes per game this month, down from 22.8 in November as a starter.
Smith has been inconsistent and hasn’t produced at levels expected since the backend of their seven-game road trip out west. He’s come off the bench in three of the last four games; the one exception was in Cleveland against two bigs.
OK, funny TV moment. The broadcast highlights Tyrese Haliburton’s custom “Home Alone” shoes … then analyst Quinn Buckner reveals that he’s never seen the movie. What!? How? I don’t believe him…