INDIANAPOLIS -- Carmelo Anthony was back in his hotel room watching the Knicks on television and tweeted his approval after J.R. Smith threw down a tomahawk dunk.
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But there wasn't much else for Anthony to tweet about and not much reason to keep watching, either, as the Knicks melted down in the fourth quarter of their 81-76 loss to the Pacers Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Anthony served his NBA-imposed one-game suspension for confronting Kevin Garnett outside the Celtics' locker room and the team bus Monday. Anthony will be back for Friday night's game against Chicago, but the Knicks definitely missed his scoring and the attention he draws.
They led by four early in the fourth quarter but shot 7-for-23 and scored 16 points in the final quarter. The Knicks missed 11 consecutive field-goal attempts in a seven-minute stretch and were outscored 18-2 in an 8:35 span as they dropped their second straight game.
"It's frustrating without having that huge crutch to lean on -- 7," Smith said. "It was tough."
Smith did his part, contributing 25 points and six assists. But he was 10-for-29 overall, including 2-for-8 in the fourth.
The Knicks (23-12) also missed Raymond Felton, who is out with a fractured right pinkie. They had a hard time creating shots against the surging Pacers, who have won nine straight at home. The Knicks shot 34.8 percent from the field and had only 14 assists.
They could have used a breakout game from Amar'e Stoudemire, but he was off most of the night. Stoudemire shot 4-for-11 with nine points and eight rebounds in 21:31. Tyson Chandler had 12 points and 15 rebounds. Chris Copeland, who started for Anthony, finished with eight points.
"It was one we thought we could come in and steal," said Chandler, who played with neck pain that he hopes won't keep him out of Friday night's game. "When you're shorthanded, it's tough. It forces other guys in tough positions. Other guys in the lineup are playing big minutes, guys who play off and feed off of the guys we were missing."
The Knicks also might have lost power forward Marcus Camby, who left the game in the third quarter after aggravating a left foot injury that has hampered him for much of this season. Camby was limping badly and left the building on crutches. He will be evaluated today by team doctors.
When Chandler opened the fourth quarter with a slam, the Knicks led 62-58. But their next basket was a jumper by Stoudemire with 4:35 left, and the Pacers went on to build a 13-point lead.
"I don't know if we were fatigued or ran out of juice," Mike Woodson said. "We couldn't find offense in that fourth quarter until it was too late."
The Knicks cut it to 79-72 on Jason Kidd's three-pointer with 1:26 remaining, but they let George drive to the basket for an easy layup to make it a nine-point game.
Said Smith, "At the end of the day, we really beat ourselves."
"We had tips in around the bucket; we just couldn't get one to fall," Woodson said. "It was a struggle all night offensively for both teams. They did what they had to do to secure the win.''