Donte DiVincenzo blasts Pacers’ tough guy act: ‘Not their identity’

Donte DiVincenzo thinks the Pacers are fugazi. 

In an Eastern Conference semifinal series that’s been physical and sometimes testy, DiVincenzo and Indiana’s Myles Turner got into it and had to be separated in the third quarter of the Knicks’ 121-91 Game 5 beating of the Pacers. 

Afterward, if the Pacers’ pride was already hurt, DiVincenzo took the last vestiges of it with his blunt assessment of Indiana. 

New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo and Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner exchange words as they are held back by referees during the third quarter. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“They were trying to be tough guys. And that’s not their identity, and there’s nothing more to that,” DiVincenzo said. “I don’t agree with trying to walk up on somebody. … Nobody is going to fight in the NBA. So take the foul, keep it moving. You’re not a tough guy. Just keep it moving.” 

The Knicks destroyed Indiana 53-29 on the boards, and hammered the Pacers 20-5 on the offensive glass.

They knocked the Pacers players off their offensive spots, had Indiana too overwhelmed to box out properly and just generally manhandled their opponents. 

“We knew in this series that it’s not really about our offense,” Turner said. “It’s about the hustle plays, offensive rebounds, 50-50 balls and controlling turnovers. They beat us to a lot of those balls and that contributed to the outcome of the game. 

“It’s not about our offense because we know we can score. … We’re one of the best scoring offenses in the history of this game, but its about the little stuff. 

DiVincenzo called the Pacers out for trying to be “tough guys.” Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“I know I didn’t do my job tonight when it came to being on the glass, and I need to personalize that and take it into next game. I take full ownership of that, and it starts with me down there with a lot of that stuff.”

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That may have played a role in their dustup. 

After DiVincenzo soared in for a putback dunk and hung on the rim, he came downcourt and tried to get through a Turner screen but got whistled for a foul. 

Turner got mad at what looked like an elbow to the gut from DiVincenzo, and the two started jawing and had to be separated by referee Scott Foster and Obi Toppin with 4:27 left in the third. 

New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo slams the ball over Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton during the third quarter. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The result was five technical fouls, three on the Knicks. 

“They were talking, trying to be physical, basically trying to be our brand, our identity, and they were successful with it last game,” DiVincenzo said. “We regrouped, watched film, and just understood that’s not who we are. We came out tonight, and that’s exactly who we are. 

“That’s who we are. We’ve been that all season long. … It’s our identity, it’s what we do in practice every day. They were successful last game and we understood we have to go back to who we are, and that’s exactly what we did.” 

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