NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Knicks’ 103-96 loss to the Pacers on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden was their sixth consecutive defeat at home.
New York has now lost four in a row and has fallen to 3-8. Last year’s Atlantic Division champions are tied with the Nets for second-to-last place in the Eastern Conference.
J.R. Smith isn’t handling the losses well.
“We’re frustrated,” Smith said. “It’s too early to panic. But me, personally, I’m panicking. I don’t like this. I don’t want to play 3-8 basketball.”
New York scored the first 13 points on Wednesday night, but this settled into a playoff-type game between teams that met in the postseason last May. And it again went to the Pacers, who bounced back from their first loss after a franchise-record 9-0 start.
Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and a season-high 18 rebounds for the Knicks.
“I thought we had the game won,” Anthony said. “And in overtime, I don’t know, they just walked away with it.”
Smith had 21 points, and Beno Udrih scored a season-high 19 for the Knicks, including a go-ahead shot with 1:21 left in regulation when he appeared to just throw it at the rim when Anthony couldn’t get free. The Knicks protected the lead through a couple of missed 3-pointers by George Hill, and Anthony made two free throws for an 89-86 lead with 9.2 seconds left.
Iman Shumpert was then called for the foul on Paul George, with replays showing what appeared to be perhaps just a slight touch to George’s arm. The All-Star sank the free throws, and Anthony missed on the other end, and Smith was off on a tip attempt.
“It don’t really matter what I think or what happened,” Shumpert said. “They called the foul.”
The stunned Knicks walked back to the bench as if they had just lost — and pretty soon, they had.
George followed Hibbert’s block with a 3-pointer, and answered Anthony’s basket with four straight points to put the Pacers in control.
The Knicks were again without injured starters Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. Amare Stoudemire also didn’t play on the second night of the back-to-back.
They now go on a four-game road trip, perhaps what they need with their inability to win on their home floor.
New York was ahead 42-37 at the half and never trailed by more than four until overtime.
Notes: Metta World Peace returned, saying he had fluid drained from his left knee twice in recent weeks.
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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)