Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Paul George had 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to lead the Indiana Pacers past the New York Knicks, 82-71, on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Pacers protected their home court to take a 2-1 series lead, with Game 4 of the best-of-seven series Tuesday in Indianapolis.
Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points to lead the Knicks, who led only once in the game for a total of 76 seconds. New York spent the final 45 minutes trying to play catch-up but never succeeded.
Amare Stoudemire looked rusty after returning from a two-month absence, going 3-for-8 from the field and finishing with seven points. J.R. Smith scored nine points after missing the morning shootaround because of a 102-degree fever.
Indiana took control with a 14-3 run that gave the Pacers a 58-44 third-quarter lead, and the Knicks never got closer than eight.
The big questions heading into the game were whether Smith would play, whether Stoudemire would be effective and whether Indiana could get back to its brand of basketball.
Smith gave it a go, but his shooting problems continued as he went 4-for-12 from the field and walked straight to the locker room when he was replaced with 7:45 left in the game. He returned to the game a few minutes later.
Four days after being embarrassed in a 26-point loss at New York, the Pacers got tough. New York shot just 35.2 percent from the field and made only three 3s, Anthony got into foul trouble by picking up three in a 2:18 span during the third quarter and, of course, Indiana finished with a 53-40 rebounding advantage.
GRIZZLIES 87, THUNDER 81: NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol scored 20 points and hit two free throws with 1:03 left to put Memphis ahead to stay, and the Grizzlies held off the Thunder to take a 2-1 lead in this Western Conference semifinal.
Gasol scored 16 in the second half as Memphis remained unbeaten at home in the postseason.
The Grizzlies pulled out the win in an ugly performance for both teams following a three-day layoff since Game 2. After struggling at the free throw line in Oklahoma City, the Grizzlies hit all six at the line in the final 1:03 to clinch it.
Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but only two in the fourth quarter. A 91 percent free throw shooter in the regular season, Durant missed two with 39.3 seconds left.
Tony Allen had his best game in this series, scoring 14 points for Memphis. Jerryd Bayless added 11.
The Thunder had their worst scoring and shooting performance this postseason. Durant went 3-for-11 from the floor in the second half, and his teammates went a combined 23-for-69 for the game.
Memphis won despite not winning in the categories the Grizzlies usually dominate. The Thunder outrebounded them 51-44 with a 14-5 edge on the offensive glass. The Thunder also outscored the Grizz 44-30 in the paint with a 23-7 edge on fast-break points.
But the Thunder didn’t score after Derek Fisher hit a 3-pointer with 1:58 left.