The Knicks didn't need to go bigger to beat the Pacers. They just needed to play smarter and harder than in Game 1, and it helped that Carmelo Anthony found his shooting touch.
Knowing the danger of falling behind 0-2 with the series moving to Indiana for the next two games, the Knicks played with the effort and energy they lacked Sunday and tied the Eastern Conference semifinal at 1 apiece with a stirring 105-79 victory Tuesday night at the Garden.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night.
The Knicks broke open a close game with a 36-4 run over a 12-minute span between the third and fourth quarters, turning a two-point deficit into a 98-68 lead with 3:30 left. They locked down defensively and started the fourth by scoring 20 unanswered points.
The Pacers' first points came on Tyler Hansbrough's foul shots with 4:48 left and their first fourth-quarter basket was with 3:09 left. Indiana was 4-for-16 and scored 13 points in the fourth. "Just realizing what's at stake," Kenyon Martin said. "We didn't want to go down 0-2. They played a good third quarter, so we had an even greater sense of urgency."
Anthony finished with a game-high 32 points, including 22 in the second half. He shot 13 of 26 overall, 9 of 15 after halftime. Anthony had been 35-for-110 in his last four games.
His shooting and shot selection had become a topic of conversation again, but Anthony put that to rest for a few days with this performance. "I think he's great," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "He's just a beast of an offensive player and a competitor on the defensive end. He made a lot of tough shots and we guarded him pretty well."
Iman Shumpert, whose rousing first-half dunk had the Garden buzzing, scored 15 points. Raymond Felton added 14 before turning his ankle late in the third quarter. Pablo Prigioni was 4-for-4 with 10 points, including eight in the fourth.
The Pacers' big frontcourt gave the Knicks' troubles in Game 1. Indiana grabbed 14 more rebounds and was plus-10 on second-chance points. In Game 2, the Knicks were the aggressors inside.
They finished with two more rebounds and held a 29-8 edge in second-chance points. The Knicks also forced 21 turnovers and converted them into 32 points. They committed just seven themselves.
"I never want to talk about effort, hustle. That's something that should be a given," Woodson said. "I thought they made all the hustle and necessary plays for us to win this game."
The Knicks took control early as they led by 13 in the second quarter. But the Pacers came back and went ahead 64-62 on a George Hill three-pointer with 3:28 left in the third.
The Knicks ended the quarter on a 10-2 run and opened up the game with their inspired fourth quarter.
Prigioni scored the first five points, and then Anthony took over. He scored 11 of their next 14 points, two of them on three-pointers. He had made two of his last 28 threes before knocking down those two. "They went in today," Anthony said. "They started going in late in the game. They came at a crucial time."
The timing couldn't have been better for Anthony and the Knicks to find their way on both ends. An 0-2 hole would have been tough to overcome.
"Nobody said this was going to be easy," Woodson said. "We lost home court advantage after losing the first game. The only way to get out of this series is we got to go get one [in Indiana]. It would be nice if we got it Saturday."