|New York @ Indiana|
|107 - 92|
Rose, who played six seasons for Indiana, scored 21 points Tuesday night in his first game back as a member of the New York Knicks . Jamal Crawford added 16 points as the Knicks beat the Pacers 107-92.
"Obviously you want to come back and play well," said Rose, enjoying the Knicks' first two-game winning streak since he joined the team last month. "Guys that say they don't like playing against their former teams are definitely lying. So many guys on that bench did so much for my career."
The Pacers sent Rose to Chicago as part of the 2002 trade that brought Ron Artest to Indiana. Rose later played in Toronto and went to New York in a trade for Antonio Davis last month. Still, Indiana's almost like home for him, and he received a warm welcome from the Indiana fans.
The feeling was mutual.
"This is one of the only gyms I get a chance to run up and down the court where I contributed some blood and some sweat to the banners that are hanging up. So it does feel good to get back here," Rose said.
"Larry Bird is like a basketball god to me for what he's done for my career," he said of the Pacers president and former coach.
New York, which had lost 16 of its past 18 games and had the NBA's second-worst record, overcame a horrible start, pulled within one point at halftime and took control with a flurry of 3-pointers at the start of the third quarter.
Rose and Quentin Richardson hit consecutive 3s as the Knicks went in front in the first minute of the third period. Richardson had another 3-pointer and Stephon Marbury hit two from long range before New York's first miss. By that time, the Knicks' lead was 64-57. The Pacers managed one more tie at 72 but never led the rest of the game.
"We controlled the tempo even though we turned the ball over," said the Knicks' Larry Brown, who also coached Rose one season in Indiana before Bird took over. "We got great shots, rebounded the ball pretty effectively, defended pretty well.
"This wasn't one of their better games but it's a quality win for us on the road," Brown said.
The Knicks snapped a six-game losing streak on Saturday at Milwaukee.
"We're playing under control better. We're not just running up and down the court," Brown said of the difference the past two games. "I feel good about everybody's contribution."
New York took a 75-72 lead into the fourth quarter, then Crawford started the final period with consecutive 3-pointers as the Knicks pulled away for good. The Pacers hit just two of their first 11 shots in the fourth quarter and fell behind by as many as 19 points in the final minutes.
For the game, New York hit 9-for-13 from behind the arc, including 8-for-10 in the second half.
"They competed at a higher level than we did, and that's disappointing," said Carlisle, who succeeded Bird as coach four years ago. "We just didn't have it. Everytime we would make a run, we'd make a defensive mistake and they'd get a 3."
Eddy Curry added 15 points for the Knicks, including five dunks. Stephen Jackson and Peja Stojakovic led Indiana with 20 points each.
There were seven lead changes and five ties in a sloppy, poor-shooting first half.
The Knicks shot just 21 percent in the first quarter but trailed only 18-12 at the end of the period and slowly cut into Indiana's lead with their reserves on the floor at the start of the second quarter.
A rebound basket by Channing Frye and two free throws by Steve Francis pulled New York within 27-24. Then after a basket by Pacers rookie Danny Granger , the Knicks regained the lead with a 9-0 run, ending with a basket by Jackie Butler for a 33-29 lead.
Indiana's starters returned at that point, and Jackson scored on a layup and free throw and Stojakovic hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 33. New York had one more lead that quarter, but the Pacers went back in front on a rebound tip by Jeff Foster took a 45-44 lead at halftime.
The Knicks' 12 points were a first-quarter season-low. ... Indiana's Fred Jones left in the second quarter with a sprained left thumb and returned late in the third quarter with the thumb and wrist taped. He missed all eight of his shots from the field and both his free throw attempts. Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley , out the past 15 games with a sore right elbow, entered the game early in the fourth quarter and had six points. ... New York's victory was its second at Conseco Fieldhouse in four years.