The Knicks should know better than this. They should know better than to show up for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals as if it were Game 1 of the regular season. There is no bigger crime than letting an opponent play harder than you in your own building with the stakes this high, no bigger crime than giving the appearance you are resting on your laurels for winning one damn playoff series for the first time in 13 years.

The Garden fans can curse the officials until they’re blue and orange in the face, and the Knicks can roll their eyes and flail their arms and shake their heads in disgust all they want, but neither are excuses for Pacers 102, Knicks 95. Carmelo Anthony has no one to blame but himself for his foul trouble and another bout of erratic, if not horrific shooting (10-for-28). He cannot blame his left shoulder being targeted, and Tyson Chandler has no one to blame but himself for getting cut down to size by Roy Hibbert. Loose balls? The Knicks looked like the Game 7 Nets. From the lips of Pat Riley: No rebounds — no rings.

“This is a game that you’ve got to get up for,” the Pacers’ Paul George said. “Playing in the Garden, the history behind it ... we know afternoon Sunday games in Madison Square Garden are always big games, so we knew we were going to have to bring it.”

You could almost envision Reggie Miller giving the Knicks the choke sign.

“We just watched the film on how we played before against them, and for some reason, when we play here, we don’t play with any passion,” Hibbert said. “They play so well here, we wanted to make sure we at least split.”

Perhaps it is an omen the one Knick who actually tried too hard sealed their fate.

His name is J.R. Smith and he is killing the Knicks.

J.R Smith, basket case.

Smith had finally showed signs of life in the fourth quarter, when he scored 11 of his 17 points, and it was 101-95 and misguided hope inside the Garden with maybe 30 seconds left when Anthony nearly lost the ball and Smith retrieved it near midcourt and put up a 3 from straightaway that wasn’t close, and it was game over.

So here are the shooting numbers for J.R. Smith since returning from his Game 4 suspension in Boston: 3-for-14; 5-for-13; 4-for-15.