Pacers pull away from Knicks in second-half burst
Domantas Sabonis had game-highs of 32 points and 13 rebounds, and T.J. Warren scored all five of his points midway through the third quarter Wednesday night to give the Indiana Pacers a 121-107 win over the visiting New York Knicks in the season opener for both teams.
Myles Turner flirted with an unusual triple-double (10 points, eight rebounds, eight blocks) for the Pacers, who won the head coaching debut of Nate Bjorkgren and improved to 4-1 in their last five season openers. Victor Oladipo had 22 points and Malcolm Brogdon finished with 21 points and eight assists. Doug McDermott added 13 points off the bench.
RJ Barrett hit all eight of his shots in the first half and finished with 26 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who fell in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s first game at the helm. Alec Burks scored 22 points off the bench while Julius Randle had 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Reggie Bullock added 11 points as New York lost for the fourth time in its last five season openers.
The Pacers led by as many as eight in the first quarter but trailed 66-61 at the half. A layup by Sabonis tied the score at 74-74 with 6:43 left in the third. Obi Toppin responded with a 3-pointer for the Knicks, after which Turner put back the rebound of a Brogdon miss to continue what became a 9-0 run.
Toppin missed a floater on the next possession, and Warren’s layup gave Indiana its first lead since midway through the second. The teams combined to miss their next four shots before Warren converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 4:47 remaining.
The Knicks got as close as 83-82 when Mitchell Robinson tapped in his own miss with 1:54 left. The Pacers then scored the final five points of the period to begin an 18-8 run. Justin Holiday scored four of his six points during the spurt, which ended with a basket by Sabonis that gave Indiana its first double-digit lead at 101-90.
The Knicks were within single digits once the rest of the way as the Pacers continued pulling away. Indiana opened up an 18-point lead three times in the final 4:58.
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