The Indiana Pacers now have lost three consecutive games following their 110-107 loss to the New York Knicks.
It was the Pacers who managed to hold a lad early in this game. However a 24-6 run from the Knicks to close out the opening half made a staggering impact on this matchup. Both teams traded blows after halftime and it came down to execution in the clutch.
Indiana held a five-point lead with under five minutes left in this game but failed to hang onto it. If it wasn't for Domantas Sabonis converting on a bank shot from deep, the Pacers wouldn't have still had a chance to win with under 25 seconds left.
The Pacers gained possession of the basketball and called full timeout with 14.9 seconds remaining. TJ McConnell fumbled the ball away after failing to make a routine catch atop the key. Indiana trailed just 108-106 prior to this play but it was too much to overcome.
Here are three things to like and dislike from Saturday's loss:
LIKE: TJ McConnell Stepping Up
The Pacers have a lot of trust in TJ McConnell's ability to make a real impact. He received a game-high 46 minutes of playing time and took full advantage as he finished with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists, and 2 steals. His impact played an important role with Malcolm Brogdon out.
DISLIKE: Turner's Scoring Slump
With Malcolm Brogdon sidelined due to injury, the Pacers only were with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner as their available regular starters. Turner's shot wasn't falling in this game as he went 5-of-14 (35.7%) from the field and 1-of-8 (12.5%) from beyond the arc. Indiana will need him to get his shot to start falling sooner rather than later.
LIKE: Held Their Own vs. Elite Defense
The reputation of the Knicks has not been strong from recent NBA seasons of mediocre basketball. Now, that's no longer the case. They have posted the league's second-best defensive rating (107.4) so far this season. For a team that was without three starters, the Pacers managed nearly overcame that against a top defense.
DISLIKE: McConnell Playing 46 Minutes
The Pacers had to make adjustments to their rotation with Malcolm Brogdon ruled out for this game. Aaron Holiday was struggling offensively and that resulted in TJ McConnell sitting for just two minutes of the game's 48 minutes of action. Why not play Edmond Sumner more at the one spot given its his natural position?
LIKE: Free Throw Production
One of the greater weaknesses of this Pacers team has been their inability to get to the free throw line this season. That wasn't the case in this game. Indiana had little issue getting to the line and converting while they were there. They went 20-of-25 (80.0%) on these attempts and attempted three more free throws than New York.
DISLIKE: Out-Executed in Clutch
It's becoming a troubling pattern for the Pacers when it comes down to needing to make big plays down the stretch. This loss marks the third consecutive game they've lost after being out-executed in the clutch. Indiana held a 98-93 lead with 4:15 left to play and lost.