Sabonis sharp again at MSG, Pacers beat Knicks 121-106
NEW YORK (AP) — Beaten badly in Boston, the Indiana Pacers shifted their energy to finishing their road trip with a winning record.
It helped that it ended in a building where Domantas Sabonis barely misses.
Sabonis had 22 points and 15 rebounds to cap his sizzling season at Madison Square Garden, and Indiana bounced back from its worst performance of 2018-19 by beating the New York Knicks 121-106 on Friday night.
Victor Oladipo added 19 points for the Pacers, who finished 3-2 on their longest trip of the season. They yielded season highs of 135 points and 56.8 percent shooting in their 27-point loss in Boston, and spent two days talking about finishing strong.
“Even though we were 2-2 we felt like we hadn’t played our best basketball,” Oladipo said, “and I think we came out today with a chip on our shoulder and we did a great job of using that intensity and that edge and going out there and playing with that chip.”
Sabonis shot 9 for 14 from the field to finish 21 of 26 this season in two games in New York. Playing as a reserve, he made all 12 shots and tied his career high with 30 points when the Pacers won here on Halloween.
Starting this time with Myles Turner out of the lineup, he led six players in double figures as Indiana shot 52 percent. He couldn’t explain why he is so good in New York.
“I treat every game the same way,” he said. “Come out, my teammates do a great job of finding me and I just try to do my job.”
Bogdanovic had 15 points.
Emmanuel Mudiay scored 21 points for the Knicks, back from a lengthy, six-game road trip and playing their first game at Madison Square Garden since Christmas. They lost their seventh straight at home.
“It felt good to play here,” rookie Kevin Knox said. “Not the result we wanted, but it felt good to finally be back at Madison Square Garden.”
New York battled back from 13 down to take the lead on Tim Hardaway Jr.’s second straight 3-pointer, but with the game tied, Indiana scored the final 12 points, with Oladipo hitting consecutive 3-pointers, to make it 64-52 at halftime.
Bogdanovic then opened and closed a 16-7 spurt out of the locker room with 3-pointers to open an 80-59 cushion.
Hardaway played just a minute of the fourth quarter before leaving for good because he was cramping. He said he expected to be fine.
Pacers: Turner has a sore right shoulder. … The Pacers have won the last five meetings.
Knicks: New York played without Enes Kanter (illness), Frank Ntilikina (sprained left ankle) and Mitchell Robinson (sprained left ankle). … Knox was presented with the Eastern Conference rookie of the month award for December before the game. … The Knicks celebrated Croatian heritage night. Hezonja and Bogdanovic are Croatian, with Bogdanovic the leading scorer in the 2016 Olympics with 25.3 points per game.
Knicks coach David Fizdale said the team is leaning toward leaving Kristaps Porzingis home next week when the Knicks travel to London to play Washington, believing that is better for the All-Star forward’s rehabilitation from his torn ACL than traveling. Fizdale said he spoke Friday with Porzingis, who is scheduled to be re-evaluated in about a month. He said Porzingis’ spirits were positive.
“Obviously he misses playing, that part has been hard,” Fizdale said, “but he’s starting to get stronger, so he’s feeling better. And he seems to be in a really good place.”
Kanter posted a video of his “cheat day” meal on Wednesday, with seven burgers and a plate of fries on the table in front of him. He then missed practice Thursday and the game Friday because of illness, leading to speculation that he had ate himself sick. But Fizdale thought there was no way Kanter actually ate all that food.
“The guy walks around with his shirt off all day in the locker room. There’s no way he’s stuffing seven burgers down his face. I just don’t see that,” Fizdale said. “I think sometimes people take the ‘gram too seriously.”
Pacers: Host Phoenix on Tuesday.
Knicks: Host Philadelphia on Sunday.