NEW YORK – Carmelo Anthony hung from the rim, the helpless defender who tried to stop his dunk lying on the court below after falling down.
Pretty soon, Anthony’s jumper was falling, too.Once that happened, the New York Knicks blew away the Indiana Pacers with a performance that resembled something from earlier this season, not this series.
Anthony scored 32 points, 16 during a 30-2 New York onslaught in the second half, and the Knicks beat the Pacers 105-79 last night in the Garden to even the Eastern Conference semifinals at one game each.
“I think for the most part from the start of the game and throughout the whole game, I think we played with a sense of urgency today,” Anthony said. “We played the way we’ve been playing as far as competing at the highest level.”
Iman Shumpert added 15 points, including a sensational follow dunk in the first half, and Raymond Felton scored 14 as the Knicks turned a close game into a blowout over the final 15 minutes.
Paul George scored 20 points for the Pacers, who had a two-point lead and momentum when coach Frank Vogel called timeout with a little more than 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
By the time the Pacers got on the board in the final period, the Knicks had opened a 26-point advantage.
Game 3 is Saturday at Indianapolis.Meanwhile at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City the Memphis Grizzlies wouldn’t let Kevin Durant come through in the clutch for the second straight time.
This was Mike Conley’s time to shine.
Conley scored 26 points and fueled a late Memphis run as the Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-93 to tie the series at one and gain home-court advantage in the Western Conference semifinals.
Conley hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:58 left to put the Grizzlies ahead to stay and spark a string of 10 straight Memphis points.
The Grizzlies head home for the next two games, with Game 3 on Saturday in Memphis.
“Mike Conley is now one of the top five point guards in the league, whether anybody likes it or not,” said team-mate Tony Allen, who had two of his five steals in the final minute.
“I know a lot of people have got their favorites on who they think it should be, but Mike Conley is in that conversation now, being able to do these types of things on the court night in and night out,” Allen added.
After hitting the key baskets in Game 1, Durant couldn’t provide an answer for the Thunder. He missed his last three shots, including a pair of 3-point attempts, and finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.