You don't shimmy-shake all over Patrick Ewing's show.
Mark Jackson and the Indiana Pacers learned that lesson Saturday as some premature celebrating spurred a Ewing-led rally that led the New York Knicks to an 83-76 victory that put them back in contention in the second-round series.Jackson broke into a shimmy-shake midway through the third quarter when the Pacers were leading by eight, then performed a "bring it on" gesture when the crowd got all over him.
Everything went New York's way from that point on.
"Mark is going to be Mark," Ewing said. "That stuff didn't bother me when I played with him here in New York, so why should it bother me now?"
OK. Maybe it didn't offend Ewing. But it sure produced a turning point in a game Indiana was controlling until that point.
Ewing had six points and an assist in a brief spurt late in the third, and the Knicks held Indiana to 10 points in the fourth to win going away.
"I think it motivated the crowd more than it motivated us, but everyone knows that at home you can feed off the crowd - and we did," Allan Houston said of Jackson's histrionics. "Our guards took it personally."
Ewing, making his return to Madison Square Garden after missing 41/2 months with a fractured wrist, had 19 points on 7-for-16 shooting and seven rebounds in 32 minutes. He shot only 3-for-11 in his comeback Thursday night at Indiana.
"Between last game and this game I made a drastic improvement," he said.
Chris Childs, the object of disdain from Knicks fans after several poor playoff performances, had one of his best games all season as he finished with 10 points, five assists and four rebounds.
John Starks added 12 points, Allan Houston and Chris Mills had 11 each and Larry Johnson 10 as New York placed six players in double figures. The Knicks outrebounded Indiana 42-27, including 14-5 on the offensive end.
New York cut its deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, with Game 4 set for Sunday afternoon. And with another win, the Knicks can turn this series into the kind of emotional battle that would match these teams' playoff epics of 1994 and 1995.
Reggie Miller scored 23 for the Pacers, and Chris Mullin scored 16.
Indiana jumped out to an early 13-point lead, withstood a run by the Knicks and was ahead 62-54 when Jackson started pulling best hits out of his gesture repertoire.
After the Knicks had turned things around, it was Spike Lee who was mimicking Jackson.
"That's what it's all about," Jackson said, "and I can't take (the gestures) back. Just like you can't take back bad movies."