Knicks vs. Pacers – Madison Square Garden
When: Sunday | 12:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: The Knicks fell from the unbeaten ranks on Friday but confidence seems sky high inside the locker room after a three-game road trip. New York won two of three away from MSG, including a shocking 12-point come from behind win in San Antonio. Following the contest in Memphis, the Knicks returned to New York and earned the day off from practice on Saturday. At 6-1, New York still owns the top spot in the Eastern Conference heading into the matchup against Indiana. The Knicks will play their next three on the road following the Sunday matinee.
Indiana: The Pacers are fresh off postseason run that featured a 2-1 series lead over the eventual NBA Champions in the Eastern Conference semifinals. While Indiana fell to the Heat, the squad built confidence that it could compete with the elite in the East and challenge for a spot in the Finals. Over the summer, the Pacers added D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green to bolster their backcourt. The start of the new season has been a bit bumpy for Indiana to say the least. Danny Granger suffered a left knee injury that will require him to miss three months and the club has stumbled to a 4-6 overall record. Six of the Pacers 10 games have been on the road as they enter a back-to-back trip starting Sunday in New York.
Last Time Out
New York: The Knicks suffered through a tough third quarter on Friday and could not comeback from 21 points down in Memphis. The Grizzlies snatched the 105-95 win while ending New York’s six-game win streak.
Indiana: The Pacers snapped a two-game skid with a 103-83 victory over the Mavericks on Friday night.
The Numbers Game
Behind gifted guards Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and Pablo Prigioni, the Knicks are taking care of the basketball. New York commits the least amount of turnovers in the league at 10.4 and the team owns a +9.3 assist to turnover ratio.
Match-up to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. David West
Roy Hibbert is coming off an All-Star season but the big man has not produced substantial numbers thus far. David West is picking up the slack at the power forward spot by averaging a team-best 14.2 points and 8.2 boards per game. Last season, Carmelo Anthony was successful in his matchup against West and the two players will collide again this year with Anthony playing the 4 spot. Coming off a grueling game defending Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, Anthony will face another strong post player. However, West likes to work from the perimeter, especially in pick-and-pop situations where he slides out for 15-17 foot jumpers. Expect Anthony to fill the box score after the Spurs held him below double digits and the Grizzlies limited him to 20 on Friday night.
What to Look For
Despite a 4-6 mark, the Pacers are a strong defensive team, ranking No. 1 in the league in points allowed. Indiana is also the second beast rebounding team in the NBA, which will force the Knicks to match its intensity on the glass. New York will need to a big effort from Anthony, Wallace, and Chandler in the paint to shift the advantage to its side on Sunday. One would expect the Knicks to come out motivated to regain a spot in the win column, considering they are playing at home for the first time since last Friday night.