- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Knicks trailed the Pacers by as many as 10 points in the first half, but cut the deficit to three at the second-quarter buzzer with a late run.
Here are a few observations from the first half:
AMAR'E BACK: Amar'e Stoudemire got on the floor for the first time in more than two months in the second quarter. But, as expected, he made little impact.
Stoudemire scored two points and grabbed two rebounds in five minutes.
On Stoudemire's first defensive possession, the Pacers got three offensive rebounds. Coach Mike Woodson yelled at Stoudemire to rebound the ball.
Stoudemire missed his first shot -- a back-to-the-basket move -- but did convert a dunk off of a Pablo Prigioni feed.
SMITH PLAYS: J.R. Smith suited up after battling a fever all day Saturday, but he wasn't himself in the first half.
Smith missed his two shot attempts in the first quarter -- a contested jumper and a 3-pointer. He also committed a clear-path foul on Danny Granger as the Pacers jumped out to a three-point lead after one quarter.
Smith seemed to be affected by the fever. After coming out in the second quarter, he sat on the bench with a dazed look. He also did not enter the team's huddle during timeouts, instead staying on the bench.
Smith seemed surprised when Woodson asked him to return to the game with 5:17 left the second quarter. But he showed some life in his second stint on the floor. He drew contact and hit a runner in the lane. He then knocked down a step-back 20-footer.
EFFICIENT MELO: Carmelo Anthony didn't force anything in the first half. He finished with with 13 points on six shots. He made six of his seven free throws. The last free throw cut the Pacers' lead to 36-31 with 42 seconds left to play.
Anthony then found Kenyon Martin for a baseline layup in the final seconds to cut the Pacers' lead to three heading into halftime.
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