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Frustrated Melo Says Knicks Could’ve Played ‘A Lot Harder’ Against Pacers

Carmelo Anthony drives to the basket against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 14, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony drives to the basket against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 14, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Knicks had a chance Thursday to prove their turnaround was for real.

Instead, they got steamrolled 117-89 against the rival Indiana Pacers.

“Yeah, it was an embarrassing loss,” Carmelo Anthony said. “Thirty points? I don’t think no team is 30 points better than us. So we didn’t bring it tonight as a unit, as a team. I don’t really know what else to say about that.”

Lance Stephenson had a career-high 28 points, four rebounds and four assists and led the Pacers to their second-most lopsided win of the season. Indiana won its third straight to maintain its grip on the NBA’s best record, extend its Eastern Conference lead over Miami to four games and continue its claim to the league’s best home record, 20-1.

“It’s a frustrating loss, man,” said Anthony, who scored 18 of his 28 points in the first quarter. “We’re on the road and I felt like we could have played a lot better, a lot harder, than we did out there tonight. This was a big game, against a big-time team, and we didn’t bring it.”

The Knicks just couldn’t keep up.

Anthony finished with 28 points, nine in the first six minutes and 18 in the first quarter when it was still a game. Tyson Chandler had 13 points and nine rebounds, while Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith each had 12. Smith played nearly 28 minutes after being benched in two of the Knicks previous four games.

“We were awful,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said after the rematch of last spring’s conference semifinals, which Indiana also won. “It was a total team disaster after a while.”

New York fell to 6-3 since Jan. 2 and 15-24 overall.

“Right now they’re a better team than we are,” forward Amar’e Stoudemire said. “They play hard every single night. That’s what we’ve got to start doing.”

NOTES: Kenyon Martin left in the second quarter and Stoudemire followed him to the locker room in the third quarter. Both had sprained left ankles and did not return. … Former Pacers All-Star Metta World Peace was inactive in New York’s only regular-season game in Indianapolis.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 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.)