Thursday’s showdown with Indiana was supposed to be a big game for the Knicks.
Instead, it was a big let down.
New York was outworked and outclasssed by Indiana on Thursday night in an embarrassing 28-point loss.
Brooklyn-bred Lance Stephenson crushed his hometown team with a career-high 28 points on 10-for-17 shooting. Paul George added 25.
The Pacers, top to bottom, were simply too deep for the Knicks.
Indiana (31-7) shot 50 percent from the floor and looked light years ahead of the Knicks on this night. New York entered the season with championship aspirations but if Thursday’s game is any indication, Carmelo Anthony & Co. are nowhere near the upper echelon in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers improved to 20-1 at home with the win.
New York fell to 15-24 on the season. They’re 6-3 since Jan. 1 but have lost two straight heading into Friday’s home game against the Clippers.
Melo frustrated? Anthony led the Knicks with 28 points on 8-for-17 shooting. He started out white hot with 18 points in the first quarter. But he missed seven of his next nine shots.
Anthony appeared frustrated with his teammates late in the game, snapping at several of them after defensive lapses.
Both left the game and did not return. Stoudemire’s X-rays were negative, the team announced. But it is unclear if either will be available on Friday against Los Angeles.
J.R. plays: J.R. Smith suited up and played against the Pacers after being benched against Charlotte. Smith scored 12 points on 6-for-12 shooting in 28 minutes. Stephenson showed up the Knicks with his antics on several occasions, at one point celebrating a difficult reverse layup after hitting it on Smith.
Shooting scars: Indiana limited the Knicks to 40 percent shooting. New York missed 15 of 19 threes. The Pacers shot 50 percent from the floor and 43 percent from beyond the arc.
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