The Indiana Pacers take defending their home court seriously. They thoroughly dominated the New York Knicks in Game 3 back in Indianapolis, earning an 82-71 win.
The Pacers were devastating on the defensive side from end to end. The Knicks didn't manage more than 20 points in any quarter and were in the teens in three frames.
Roy Hibbert was the man for Indiana, locking up the painted area and finding a way to score efficiently on the offensive end. He picked up 24 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 9-of-18 from the field. He and David West combined for 24 boards as the Pacers outrebounded the Knicks 53-40.
Carmelo Anthony got no help from his teammates and wasn't good enough to win on his own. His 21 points made him the only Knick in double figures, but even he missed his final seven field-goal attempts. Anthony finished 6-of-16 from the field and registered just one assist.
Upon returning home for the first time in Round 2, the Pacers chose to dial it up from long distance. They turned the Knicks' game around on them, hitting 10-of-33 from beyond the arc, compared to just 3-of-11 for New York. George Hill registered five of those treys.
Paul George had a tough time finding his shot in Game 3, but he made himself relevant elsewhere. He played a crafty game, drawing crucial fouls and doing all the little things. George finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and five steals.
The Knicks closed the first half on a 9-2 run, as J.R. Smith finally hit a couple shots. A Kenyon Martin bucket before the buzzer cut the score to 36-33, with Indiana clinging to a lead.
Hibbert was able to feed off the home crowd and dominate the painted area all night. The third quarter was his big party, as he scored at will and pushed the Pacers' lead to 14 at one point.
The bench helped New York save face toward the end of the third quarter. Smith managed a couple buckets, and Amar'e Stoudemire nailed a three at the buzzer to bring his team within nine, 62-53. Stoudemire and Smith scored the Knicks' final nine points of the quarter.
No one in the Knicks backcourt was able to get anything going offensively through three quarters. Raymond Felton finally got the unit on the board with a three-point play to get New York back within 10.
Early in the fourth quarter, it was Tyler Hansbrough's turn to frustrate the Knicks. He did so with his patented annoying effort. He bumped and prodded the New York frontcourt and continually threw them off their game.
Around the 7:45 mark of the fourth quarter, with his team trailing by double digits, Smith headed to the locker room. He was playing through an illness all night, and it affected his game. Smith was just 4-of-12 on the night, good for nine points.
Hibbert was such a load inside; Tyson Chandler used up his fifth foul giving him a cheap shove before a rebound came down. Chandler was forced to play cautiously for the game's final 4:50.
Almost immediately after drawing Chandler's fifth, Hibbert committed his own foul No. 5. That forced the Pacers star to the bench at the 4:39 mark.
Iman Shumpert was one Knick who refused to give up, playing tight defense on George until the final whistle. Unfortunately, even when he was forcing turnovers, his team was unable to get good looks going the other way. New York was even struggling from the free-throw line.
Hibbert got the call to re-enter with the team up 11 and three minutes remaining. He immediately had an impact, as he drew coverage away from David West for an easy dunk and sealed off a pick to free Hill for an open trey.
From there, the Pacers simply ran away with the game against the Knicks reserves. Their dominant performance has earned them a 2-1 series lead, with another home game coming up on Tuesday.