O’Neal returned from a strained neck to score 17 points on 6-of-20 shooting Tuesday in a 97-90 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Indiana had a three-game winning streak snapped and lost its first matchup with former coach Isiah Thomas, now president of the Knicks.
O’Neal took responsibility for the defeat.
“I have to put this loss on my shoulders,” he said. “If I decide to play, whether it is hurt or healthy, I have to find a way to control the game and win the games we are supposed to win.”
O’Neal, the Pacers’ leading scorer and rebounder, grabbed only six boards and committed a team-high three turnovers in 35 minutes.
“I really disappointed myself,” he said. “I am looking forward to Friday and getting back on track.”
The Raptors look for their first three-game winning streak since winning five in a row from Dec. 2-9. Toronto enjoyed a rare rout Wednesday, beating Orlando 110-90 for its largest margin of victory this season.
“A lead like that means everything to somebody like me,” Rose said. “You cherish the games where you can sit on the bench with ice on your knees in the fourth quarter.”