After a disappointing performance in game one, the Knicks came into game two of the Eastern Conference semifinals knowing they needed a victory to stay in the series. Under pressure they performed, beating the Pacers 105-79, controlling the game throughout and taking off in the fourth quarter where they turned a strong performance into a dominant one.

The Knicks looked calm but determined to level the series to start the game and they did just that, taking advantage of twelve first half Pacer turnovers to build a thirteen-point second quarter lead behind strong play from Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert. Felton had fourteen first half points and Shump added eleven of his own, scoring in seemingly every way. The Knicks were able to turn the Pacers over with energetic defense that focused on forcing the ball out of the hands of the Pacers' big men. That strategy worked.

The Pacers chipped away at the lead, however, closing the half with an 8-0 run that left the Knicks up just 47-42 at halftime. The Knicks continued to sputter in the third, losing the lead on a Lance Stephenson three that made it 61-60 with 4:20 to go in the third.

Then, perhaps out of desperation, the Knicks took off on both ends. The last few minutes of the third and all of the fourth quarter looked like a highlight reel.

There was a Melo and-one facial on Jeff Pendergraph to go with some nice mid-range work, back-to-back buckets from Pablo Prigioni and a couple of Tyson Chandler dunks. And all that was before Melo caught fire (he had eleven points in less than six fourth quarter minutes). They didn't let up on defense either, combining a Pacers cold streak with aggressive defense to hold Indiana without a field goal for more than twelve minutes, from 3:28 in the third until 3:09 in the fourth. During that span the Knicks went from two points down to 27 points up. Not a bad stretch.

It was a strong effort for the Knicks, both as a team and individually. They shot 49% (up from 43% in game one) and looked comfortable in the mid-range; they had just six turnovers and forced the Pacers to lose it 21 times; they even won the rebounding battle 37-35. Improvements everywhere.

Melo made decisions quickly and shot well for the first time in a while, going 13-26 for 32 points while also adding nine boards and Shump finished with fifteen points, six boards and three assists. Prigs and K-Mart each contributed ten points, with Pablo adding four assists and four boards for a very well rounded performance. The Knicks outscored the Pacers 33-13 in the fourth, beating up on the Pacers so badly that even Quentin Richardson got in on the action, making two threes in garbage time and doing his "nuts on your forehead" celebration about seventeen times in three and a half minutes of play.

The only areas of concern for the Knicks are the ongoing struggles of JR Smith, who was an ugly 3-15 from the field and 1-7 from three for eight points. He's now 15-57 in four games since returning from suspension for elbowing Jason Terry in the Boston series. Jason Kidd was hesitant to shoot yet again, perhaps with good reason as he was 0-3 and didn't score for the sixth consecutive game. Tyson Chandler had another relatively quiet night, with eight points and just four rebounds, but he also played an important role in quieting down Roy Hibbert, so his statistical output isn't all that important.

For the Pacers, it was a lot of regression to the mean. Hibbert and West combined for just nineteen points and eighteen boards, Lance Stephenson shot 4-13 for nine and was 1-7 from three and DJ Augustin, who had a shocking sixteen points on 5-6 shooting in game one managed to score just four points off the bench. Only Paul George, the NBA's most improved player award winner, had a solid game for the Pacers, finishing with twenty points on 8-16 shooting. Of course, he scored fifteen of his points in the first two quarters and the Pacers scoring went as his did in the second half so his performance wasn't all that impressive in the end.

The win doesn't establish control of the series for the Knicks but it does put them in position to reclaim home court advantage and a lead in the series with a win in Indiana on Saturday night. The long layoff favors the Knicks, not only due to their advanced age but because it gives Carmelo Anthony a chance to rest his aching left shoulder and JR Smith a chance to rest his aching mind. Look for the Knicks to build on their momentum in game three.