The New York Knicks needed to play more physical, run a smoother offense and find a couple guys who could step up Tuesday night. None of those things happened, and the Indiana Pacers rolled to a 93-82 victory over Carmelo Anthony and company in Game 4 of the seven-game series.
Instead of coming out aggressively with an eye on tying up the series prior to Thursday's Game 5, the Knicks got behind early Tuesday and never came back. The Pacers led the entire game, riding the quality play of George Hill and some characteristically strong defensive work.
After struggling through the first three games of the series, Hill put up a postseason-high 26 points to power Indiana's attack. The guard hit 9 of 14 shots (64 percent) on the night, a major improvement from his 30 percent shooting percentage in the first three games of the series.
The beginning of the game gave a strong indication of what was to come for New York. The Knicks missed 11 of their first 12 shots, looking very much like a team overwhelmed by the intensity of Indiana's defense and raucous crowd.
The Knicks' offense often goes as Carmelo Anthony goes, but the star forward couldn't carry his team on the road. The scoring title winner finished the game with 24 points and nine rebounds, but a strong start gave way to some inefficient shots as he finished 9 of 23 from the field before fouling out two minutes prior to the end of the game.
J.R. Smith was once again one of the key culprits behind New York's offensive woes. The Sixth Man of the Year shot just 7 of 22 from the field, contributing 19 points in 31 minutes, most of them coming in the second half. He's now shooting 26 of 91 (29 percent) in his last six postseason contests.
With Smith's woes continuing, Anthony needed other players on the team to step up and help him. Nobody came through, as no player on the team with more than three field goal attempts shot better than 50 percent from the field.
The Pacers went roughly four minutes without a basket at one point in the second quarter, but the Knicks still never cut the lead to fewer than five points. Once they failed to capitalize, Indiana quickly made some adjustments and finished the first half on a run. With a 14-point lead at halftime, all the pressure was on New York entering the third quarter.
Facing a big deficit against a stingy defensive team on the road, the Knicks simply couldn't muster a double-digit comeback with so little working on offense. This was one of those games when New York needed its perimeter shooters, like Smith, Steve Novak and Iman Shumpert, to step up. It just didn't happen.
Paul George also had a big game for Indiana as he continues his postseason breakout. The Pacers' lone All-Star played 45 minutes, recording 18 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks.
The Pacers now hold a 3-1 lead over the Knicks in the series. A victory in Game 5, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, would send Indiana to a probable Eastern Conference Finals match-up against the Miami Heat.