The Pacers relied on their starting five man unit more than any other team in the league, aside from the OKC Thunder. The George-Hibbert-West-Lance Stephenson-George Hill lineup played over 1200 minutes this season, and posted a Net Rating of +12.1, good for sixth among all five-man units that played more than 300 minutes this season. The next most used Pacers five-man unit played only 170 minutes on the court together (Tyler Hansbrough in for West).
The Pacers main unit was responsible for 45% of the total points Indiana scored in the Atlanta series. George is the main playmaker, but David West and Roy Hibbert represent one of the most formidable front lines in the league. Although Hibbert struggled at times on offense this season, he remains dominant on the defensive end. West brings a toughness and an edge to the Pacers, as well as the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers off pick-and-pop action. George Hill and Lance Stephenson can knock down open shots, and both can handle the ball in pick-and-rolls.
The Pacers like to run a series of pick-and-rolls, both for their wing players and for West and Hibbert. They aren’t a great three-point shooting team, and similar to Boston, they rely on misdirection and decoy plays to set up what they actually want to run. When their offense is humming, George is getting to the rim, Stephenson and Hill are hitting open shots on kickouts, West is knocking down 18-footers, and Hibbert is controlling the boards.
The Knicks have had decent success against the Pacers on offense this season, especially when using their small ball attack, with Carmelo Anthony at the four spot. Anthony has owned David West, using a quickness advantage to get the big man in foul trouble and get to the free throw line. When the Pacers put George on Anthony, Melo goes to the post, and goes to work with his trusty array of pump fakes, and turnaround jumpers.
With Sixth Man of the Year, J.R. Smith, and late season addition, Kenyon Martin playing at high levels, the Knicks should have a decided advantage in bench production. It will be important for Coach Woodson to mix and match his rotation, and find the right combinations to slow down the Pacers.