NEW YORK - Bigger, badder, and so far better.
Physical beat finesse Sunday, as the Indiana Pacers outworked and outmuscled the New York Knicks in a 102-95 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
David West scored 20 points and Paul George added 19 for the Pacers, who outrebounded the Knicks 44-30, showing the smaller team that in the rugged East, size does matter.
"I thought guys did a good job just putting them on their heels," West said. "We were attacking, we were aggressive."
D.J. Augustin had 16 points for the Pacers, who built a 16-point lead while Carmelo Anthony was on the bench in foul trouble in the third quarter, and easily held on to spoil the Knicks' first second-round game since 2000.
Anthony finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds, but was frustrated by the Pacers' tough defense and by the referees. He shot 10 of 28 from the field and was perhaps thrown out of sync having to defend West, a natural power forward, inside.
"Right now they're just being really physical with him, they're trying to bang him, they're trying to frustrate him," Knicks point guard Raymond Felton said. "But we're going to be fine, he's going to be fine."
• LeBron James was at his best this season, and the voters tasked with selecting the NBA's Most Valuable Player took notice.
Every voter except one, that is.
The NBA still does not have a unanimous MVP, though no one has come closer than James did this season. The Miami Heat star was presented with the Maurice Podoloff Trophy for the fourth time in his career Sunday after collecting 120 of the 121 first-place votes, with Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks picking up the lone remaining top choice.
Shaquille O'Neal got every first-place vote but one in the 1999-2000 season, when one person cast his ballot for Allen Iverson - who finished seventh that year.
• After spending $350 million to upgrade their roster last summer, the Brooklyn Nets will start this offseason by looking for a coach.
The Nets announced Sunday that P.J. Carlesimo wouldn't return, hours after they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Carlesimo helped the Nets finish 49-33 after replacing the fired Avery Johnson in December, earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.