Just four minutes and 12 seconds into the second half, Mike Woodson had to make a decision. Carmelo Anthony was whistled for his fourth foul and the Knicks coach decided with the Knicks down by six points, he would sit his star.

Anthony sat on the bench, already struggling with his left shoulder in a brace and now sulking with foul trouble. And he watched, just like the other 19,033 fans at Madison Square Garden as the game slipped away.

By the time he got up to start the fourth quarter the deficit was 16 points and the Knicks never threatened again as the Indiana Pacers took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series, 102-95, at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks could hardly afford to spend nearly eight minutes without Anthony because they were already struggling. After surviving their flaws in the opening round series win over the Celtics the Knicks were not given the latitude to live through their miscues.

The Pacers came out and outrebounded the Knicks, defended better and hit the open shots the Knicks left them to fire up. The first two parts were expected with the Pacers putting out a huge frontline on the court and also one of the best defensive teams in the league.

But the Pacers also shot well, converting 50.9 percent through those first three quarters as they built the lead. The Knicks got 27 points from Anthony, but little help elsewhere. Raymond Felton was 8-for-12 for 18 points, but J.R. Smith was just 4-of-15 from the floor - 1-for-10 through those first three quarters - to finish with 17 points.