INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers did what they've done best this season, sending another message to one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers jumped on the New York Knicks and never let up a 125-91 victory Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"This was huge for us," Pacers swingman Paul George said. "This is a team that challenges us. It was an amazing win for us."
The victory moved the Pacers (33-21) within a half-game of the Knicks (32-19) for second place in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are now a combined 4-1 against the Knicks and Miami Heat this season.
"There's no better way to come out of the (All-Star) break than play the team that's immediately in front of you in the standings," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "We want to try and close the gap. We want to try and take the two seed from New York and try to push Miami for the one seed. Any win is a confidence booster, especially a win against a great team."
George, coming off his first All-Star appearance, led all scorers with 27 points. David West added 18 points for the Pacers.
Fellow East All-Star Tyson Chandler had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks.
The Pacers shot 53.2 percent from the field and held the Knicks to 33.7 percent shooting.
"We got our (butt) whipped," Chandler said. "This was a good old-fashion (butt) whooping. When you get beat this bad, it's everybody from the top down."
The Pacers definitely wanted to send a message to the Knicks because New York seemingly presents a matchup problem for Indiana. All-Star Carmelo Anthony starts at power forward for New York, which also brings J.R. Smith and Amare Stoudemire off the bench.
None of that mattered.
"We had a couple of good days of preparation," West said. "We feel like if we do play defense, really lock in what other team is trying to do, we have an opportunity to beat anybody."
The Pacers never trailed, and they led by as many as 39 points. They were ahead by 12 points at the end of the first quarter, then blew it open in the second quarter by outscoring the Knicks 44-26 in the period.
"We didn't show up, they whipped our (butt) from beginning to end," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "It's unacceptable. I mean, we just didn't compete, and that's on all of us."
There was definitely some tension between the two teams. Four technical fouls were called, and Smith was ejected.
"We got into their head, they were trying to bully us," Pacers guard Lance Stephenson said.
The Pacers finished with a 54-39 rebounding advantage, and a 9-3 edge in blocked shots.
NOTES: Pacers small forward Danny Granger's season debut has been put on hold for at least another game. The Pacers decided to hold Granger out because he's not completely comfortable returning to the court. His injured knee feels good, but it's a matter of Granger getting to the point where he feels good with his timing and conditioning. "You can tell he hasn't played in a long time," coach Frank Vogel said. "He makes some plays that look like he's All-Star Danny Granger; some plays he looks like he's still getting back." ... With league's annual trade deadline only a day away, there's only about a 20 percent chance that Indiana will make a move. The Pacers feel as if their big deadline deal is Granger returning to the lineup. "We feel really good about the team that we have going forward," Vogel said. The Pacers would like to move swingman Gerald Green if possible, but it's likely that they'll find any takers for the disappointment because he still has two years remaining on his deal. Backup point guard D.J. Augustin is also a possibility to be moved. ... The Knicks feel the same way the Pacers do about making a move at the deadline. They like the makeup of their current roster and believe they can push the Heat in the East.