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George, Pacers hand Knicks sixth-straight home loss

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The Canadian Press
11/20/2013 10:30:38 PM
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NEW YORK -- Paul George and the Pacers were down and just about out, seconds away from consecutive losses.

Once a late foul call gave him a chance to tie it, he wasn't letting Indiana lose it in overtime.

"I wanted to attack," he said.

George made three throws to tie it with 5.2 seconds left in regulation, then scored nine of his season-high 35 points in the extra period as Indiana pulled out a 103-96 victory Wednesday night over the New York Knicks, who dropped their sixth straight at home.

New York scored the first 13 points, but this settled into a playoff-type game between teams that met in the post-season last May. And it again went to the Pacers, who bounced back from their first loss after a franchise-record 9-0 start.

"Heck of a win for our guys," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "A grind-it-out kind of game. That's sometimes when we're at our best. The offence wasn't really flowing but our defence really buckled down."

George Hill added 23 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers, who beat the Knicks in six games in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals. Just as in the clincher of that series, Roy Hibbert had a pivotal block on Carmelo Anthony's drive to the basket.

Anthony had 30 points and a season-high 18 rebounds for the Knicks, who looked completely deflated after they couldn't score following the free throws George made when Iman Shumpert was called for fouling him.

George then put away the Knicks in overtime, keeping them winless at home since beating Milwaukee on Oct. 30 in their season opener.

"I thought we had the game won," Anthony said. "And in overtime, I don't know, they just walked away with it."

J.R. Smith had 21 points, and Beno Udrih scored a season-high 19 for the Knicks, including a go-ahead shot with 1:21 left in regulation when he appeared to just throw it at the rim when Anthony couldn't get free. The Knicks protected the lead through a couple of missed 3-pointers by Hill, and Anthony made two free throws for an 89-86 lead with 9.2 seconds left.

Shumpert was then called for the foul on George, with replays showing what appeared to be perhaps just a slight touch to George's arm. The All-Star sank the free throws, and Anthony missed on the other end, and Smith was off on a tip attempt.

"It don't really matter what I think or what happened," Shumpert said. "They called the foul."

The stunned Knicks walked back to the bench as if they had just lost -- and pretty soon, they had.

George followed Hibbert's block with a 3-pointer, and answered Anthony's basket with four straight points to put the Pacers in control.

Last season's winner of the Most Improved Player award said he would have deferred in similar situations in the past.

"I would have looked to have someone else to be in that position or that role," George said. "This year, this time around I want to be more aggressive."

The Knicks were again without injured starters Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. Amare Stoudemire also didn't play on the second night of the back-to-back.

They now go on a four-game road trip, perhaps what they need with their inability to win on their home floor.

George was two shy of his career high, bouncing back well from a season-low 12 points on 3-for-14 shooting in a 110-94 loss at Chicago that ended Indiana's perfect start.

The Knicks jumped to a 13-0 lead while Indiana missed its first seven shots. The Pacers were only 5 for 20 in the first quarter, but one of the makes was Hibbert's ugly, banked 3-pointer that beat the buzzer and cut it to 19-14.

New York was ahead 42-37 at the half and never trailed by more than four until overtime.

The teams were evenly matched last season, only minutes from heading to a Game 7 until Hibbert's sensational, momentum-shifting block on Anthony's dunk attempt late in Game 6. Indiana went on to force Miami to seven games in the East finals and is intent on doing better this season.

As for the Knicks, they are 3-8, unable to match their strong start last season, certainly not able to keep pace with Indiana's blistering start.

This was a much better performance from the Knicks, who had been critical of their own effort and were coming off a loss in Detroit a night earlier, but not good enough.

Notes: Metta World Peace returned, saying he had fluid drained from his left knee twice in recent weeks. ... Danny Granger is with the Pacers on their trip that concludes Friday at Boston, but Vogel said Granger is still experiencing soreness in his left calf and won't practice until that is gone.

Paul George (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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