new york knicks
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks go cold in Indiana as the Pacers start to heat up

The New York Knicks have suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season. The inconsistent play finally caught up to them after a 5-1 start. Why did the Knicks lose to the Indiana Pacers?

The three-point line. More specifically, Myles Turner from beyond that arc. The stretch big canned a career-high seven three-pointers on only 10 attempts en route to 25 points. He added 13 boards, three blocks, two assists, and one steal for good measure.

As a team, the Knicks only connected on five of their 24 attempts from three. The Pacers were 16-for-41. That is the “game within the game” if you are looking for one.

Somewhere between last season and this season, the Knicks lost their defensive identity. Perhaps it was misplaced as the team began emphasizing faster pace and more three-pointers, but they need to find that swagger they had in the second half of last season.

Despite the flashes of swarming defense and physicality, they haven’t been consistent enough on that end to overcome a poor shooting night like this.

Tom Thibodeau can’t be happy with the defense he’s seeing through eight games. There’s no need to sound the alarms or hit the panic button, but the defense needs to be better.

Fans tend to live and die with every single game so the overreactions on Twitter and the WFAN airwaves are coming. However, Knicks play-by-play legend Mike Breen provided some words of wisdom at the end of this poor performance. His message: It’s a long season.

The Knicks were 11-15 to begin the 2021-22 season before rallying to finish 41-31 and snag the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The NBA is a marathon, not a sprint, and this year the league is back to its standard 82 games. Take a deep breath.

On the bright side, the Knicks are 5-3 and RJ Barrett is starting to percolate. He posted his fourth consecutive 20-point game, scoring 23 points on 20 shots. The third-year wing wasn’t quite as efficient as he’s been in previous games, but he missed a few shots at the end when the Knicks were playing at 100 mph.

Other Knicks Notes:

  • Nerlens Noel made his season debut after missing the first seven games with a left knee injury. He spelled Mitchell Robinson for just under 18 minutes.
  • Thibs is sticking with his typical 10-man rotation of Walker-Fournier-Barrett-Randle-Robinson and Rose-Quickley-Burks-Toppin-Noel/Gibson. It’s safe to expect this rotation to persist as long as the Knicks are healthy.
  • New York will travel to Milwaukee on Friday (7:10 p.m. ET) for their fourth road game in five contests.