NEW YORK — 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.
New York cut its deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 set this 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.
Ewing had six points and an assist in a brief spurt late in the third quarter, 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 sitting out 4 1/2 months because of a fractured wrist, had 19 points on seven-for-16 shooting and seven rebounds in 32 minutes. He shot only three 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, 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.
Reggie Miller scored 23 points for the Pacers, and Chris Mullin had 16.
Indiana jumped out to an early 13-point lead, withstood a run by the Knicks and was ahead 62-54 when Jackson started shaking.
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 it back. Just like you can't take back bad movies."
Jackson, an ex-Knick, acknowledged hearing the crowd--"It's great to see the chants haven't changed over the years"--but said he didn't see Lee returning the shimmy-shake.
"Maybe if he was a couple inches taller," Jackson said.
Indiana's lead was down to 66-62 entering the fourth, and two free throws by Johnson gave New York the lead for good, 71-70, with 7:41 left. Indiana then would go more than seven minutes without a basket as the Knicks opened a 79-70 lead.
"It seems like this series could go seven games," Mills said.