By MARK AMBROGI Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Immanuel Quickley scored 39 points, one shy of his career high, and Quentin Grimes had a career-high 36 in the New York Knicks’ 138-129 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Obi Toppin added 32 points and the Knicks shot 52%. Mitchell Robinson finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
It was Robinson’s game that most impressed Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.
“Mitch had a monster game,” Thibodeau said. “The rebounding with Mitchell was unbelievable.”
Thibodeau said this was likely Grimes’ best game of the season.
“He’s shooting the ball with a lot of confidence,” Thibodeau said. “He’s flying around the the floor, guarding people.. His confidence is growing game by game. They are rhythm shots and that’s what I like about the way we are playing right now. We are creating rhythm for each other. When you play like that good things will come from that.”
Jalen Smith scored 19 points for Indiana, T.J. McConnell had 18 and Bennedict Mathurin 17. McConnell had 12 assists.
The Knicks had a 52-37 rebounding edge.
The game went back and forth for much of the fourth quarter. With it tied at 120, Toppin started a 7-0 run with two dunks and Grimes added a 3-pointer.
“Obi ran the floor well and got us some easy buckets,” Thibodeau said. “He’s hard to match up with what he can do. He continued to play to his strengths and his teammates’ strengths.”
With New York leading 97-91 in the third quarter, the Knicks used a 8-0 run, helped by a flagrant foul call, to take a 105-91 lead. The Pacers ended the third quarter with a 7-0 spurt.
The Knicks shot nearly 52% to take a 70-67 lead at halftime. Toppin scored 19 of his points in the first half. Indiana shot 50% in the first half.
After the Pacers took a 7-4 lead, the Knicks reeled off 17 unanswered point to grab control. The Pacers tied it twice late in the second quarter.
“We were down 14 points after five minutes,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “The second unit did a good job getting us back into the game. This is a great experience for the young guys that started. We got to learn from it as a group.”
McConnnell’s play coming off the bench helped the Pacers to get back in the game. “I run out of adjectives to describe his competitive excellence,” Carlisle said.
The Pacers and Knicks close the regular season in New York on Sunday. The Knicks have won the first three meetings between the two teams.
“We have to look to New Orleans now,” Thibodeau said of Friday night game. “We want to play our best going into the postseason.”
Knicks: With the No. 5 seed playoff spot clinched, Jalen Brunson sat out to rest his right hand. RJ Barrett missed his second consecutive game with an illness. … Julian Randle, who leads the Knicks with 25.1 points per game, continued to sit out with a left ankle sprain injury. Randle injured his angle March 29 and it’s uncertain whether he will be ready to play when playoff series with No. 4 seed Cleveland begins.
Pacers: With the Pacers’ slim playoff hopes ending Sunday, Indiana leaned heavily on its younger players and reserves. Tyrese Haliburton missed his fifth consecutive game with an ankle injury. Myles Turner missed his sixth game in a row with left ankle and lower backs soreness. … Gabe York made his first appearance of the season for the Pacers. York, who signed a two-way contract last week was called up from the Fort Wayne Ants. York scored nine points.
Knicks: At New Orleans on Friday night.
Pacers: Hosts Detroit on Friday night.