Bojan Bogdanovic scored 24 points and Darren Collison made two free throws 19.5 seconds left to help the Indiana Pacers slip past the New York Knicks 103-98 on Tuesday night.
Indiana snapped its two-game losing streak and remained tied with Philadelphia for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference. Collison finished with 16 points.
New York lost its seventh straight despite getting 21 points from Emmanuel Mudiay and 18 from Damyean Dotson. The Knicks also have lost six straight in the series.
The Knicks sure didn’t play like the league’s worst team — and the Pacers sure didn’t play like a team desperate for a win.
Instead, Indiana came out flat at home for a crucial contest during its toughest stretch of the season and it nearly cost the Pacers.
After overcoming an inexplicably flat start to take a 97-81 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Pacers allowed the Knicks to come roaring back with a 19-4 run. Mudiay’s 3-pointer with 19.5 seconds left cut the deficit to 101-98 and after a timeout the Knicks nearly stole the inbound pass.
But Collison regained control of the ball, drew the foul and calmly both free throws to close it out.
The early part wasn’t pretty, either.
Indiana missed seven straight 3-pointers in the first half, failed to take advantage of the Knicks’ continual turnovers and an 11-0 run allowed New York to take a 47-37 lead midway through the second quarter.
Then, just as suddenly, everything reverted to form.
Indiana retook the lead with 14-2 run, closed the half with a layup from Bogdanovic to make it 55-52, opened the second half with three straight 3-pointers to make it 64-52 and thought it had wrapped it up with an 8-0 fourth-quarter run that gave the Pacers the 16-point lead.
Knicks: Have lost four straight in Indianapolis and five consecutive road games overall. … New York was swept in the four-game season series for the first time since 2014-15. … DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 16 rebounds, his 12th double-double since joining the Knicks. … Mitchell Robinson had three blocks to extend his streak of consecutive games to 25 and the franchise’s rookie record for most games in a single season with two or more blocks to 16. … Kevin Knox had 16 points. … Forward Mario Hezonja did not play because of a bruised left leg.
Pacers: Wesley Matthews scored 14 points against the team that released him following last month’s trade with Dallas. … Thaddeus Young had 10 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Myles Turner had 15 points and nine rebounds. Collison also had nine assists. … The Pacers turned the game by going 6 of 9 on 3s in the third quarter. … Bogdanovic has scored 20 or more points in a career-high 27 games this season. … Cory Joseph’s seven-game streak without a turnover ended in the first quarter. … Domantas Sabonis had 10 points and seven rebounds in his second game back after missing the previous five with a sprained left ankle.
Knicks: Complete a three-game road trip at San Antonio on Friday.
Pacers: Welcome former star Paul George back to town with Oklahoma City on Thursday.