INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Jeff Teague is providing the boost behind Indiana’s surging offense.
”Jeff to me is the MVP of this five-game win streak,” veteran center Al Jefferson said. ”He’s getting everyone involved and setting the tone.”
Teague and Paul George each scored 19 points to lead the Pacers to a 123-109 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night.
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Teague, who was 9 of 9 from the free throw line, also had eight assists. The Pacers have scored more than 120 points in three straight games, and at least 111 points in each game of its longest winning streak of the season.
Thaddeus Young had 16 points and nine rebounds, C.J. Miles added 15 points off the bench, and the Pacers (20-18) extended their streak of home regular-season wins over the Knicks to nine in a row.
”We have guys who can put the ball in the basket,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. ”In this winning streak, we have established that we can run the offense and focus on making the right plays.”
Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Jennings each scored 17 points for the Knicks (17-20), who lost for the seventh time in eight games. Kristaps Porzingis made four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.
The Pacers used a 14-2 run at the start of the second quarter to pull away. Teague’s 3 with 49 seconds to go in the first half put the Pacers ahead 60-40 before Porzingis answered with a 3-pointer of his own and Miles scored to give Indiana a 62-43 halftime lead.
New York’s trip to Indiana was on the second night of a back-to-back on the road. The Knicks overcame an 18-point deficit Friday in Milwaukee to end a six-game skid, but falling into a 29-point hole against the Pacers was too much to climb.
”We didn’t come out with enough energy and they were playing real good basketball,” Porzingis said. ”Once you get down big like we did, it’s tough to get back into the game.”
Miles made a 3-pointer at the start of the fourth quarter to give Indiana a 99-70 lead. Jefferson made two free throws to make it 103-80 before the Knicks went on a 14-2 run to get within 11 when Mindaugas Kuzminskas dunked with 4:57 remaining.
George made two free throws to extend Indiana’s lead and Young dunked on an alley-oop pass from Teague to put the Pacers ahead 114-100 with 3:50 to go.
Knicks: In the first quarter, New York shot 57.9 percent from the field and was 5 of 8 from 3-point range, but turned it over nine times in the quarter for six points and trailed 33-29.
Pacers: Monta Ellis played wearing a protective face mask for a broken nose suffered Tuesday at Detroit. It was his first game with the mask after playing without it in Thursday’s game with Brooklyn. . G Rodney Stuckey was out with a sore left hamstring.
The Pacers have been scoring plenty of points in recent games and teams are struggling to keep up. Indiana set its season high with 36 points in the first quarter at Detroit on Tuesday and surpassed it with 38 against Brooklyn on Thursday. The Pacers came close to setting it again for a third straight game. They scored 33 in the first quarter against the Knicks and had 34 points in the third.
Six-time Pro Bowler Robert Mathis received a standing ovation during a timeout in the second quarter while highlights of the former Indianapolis Colts linebacker sacking quarterbacks played on the arena’s jumbo screen. Mathis was presented with a Pacers jersey with his name and football No. 98 printed on the back. Mathis retired the last week following a 14-year NFL career.
Knicks: Monday they host New Orleans for its second meeting in less than two weeks and final of the regular-season series.
Pacers: Are off for five days before they meet the Denver Nuggets in London on Thursday in Indiana’s first regular-season game outside of the U.S. or Canada.