Lance Stephenson pushes his case for Most Improved Player of the year award again.
The Indiana Pacers earned their ninth straight win at home as they cruised past the New York Knicks, in what turned out to be a blow-out, winning 117-89 at the Fieldhouse.
Lance Stephenson was the shining light for the East-best Pacers as he belted his childhood favourite side, scoring a career-best 28 points to go with four rebounds and four assists.
His versatility for the Pacers has been evident all season long, as he leads the NBA currently with three triple doubles.
And as it to push for a berth in the All-Star game, Stephenson went 10 of 17 from the field, 5 of 5 from the free-throw line, 3 of 7 on 3-pointers and had no turnovers in 28 minutes.
His previous scoring high (26) came December 23 in a 103-86 win at Brooklyn, and before this season, Stephenson had scored 22 points just two times — once against Chicago in April 2012; the other, of course, came at Madison Square Garden last spring.
“If he’s flashy, he’s being flashy making basketball coach,” coach Frank Vogel said of Stephenson. “One of our assistants said, ‘Boy, I wish I had Lance’s energy every day.’ His competitive spirit is as high as anyone we’ve coached.”
Check out this fancy pass from Stephenson to Paul George.
Indiana won their third game in a row which took their lead over the second best team in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat to a comfortable four games, as they took their home record this year to an impressive 20-1, easily the best in the NBA.
Paul George also played his role for the Pacers in scoring 25, grabbing seven rebounds on a night where six teammates of his scored in double figures.
After their recent run of good form, the Knicks simple could not not match the weapons the Pacers had on the floor.
Carmelo 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, with Smith playing nearly 28 minutes after being benched in two of the Knicks’ previous four games.