Knicks vs. Pacers 7:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
New York: In a rare schedule occurrence, the Knicks and Pacers will square off in back-to-back games. Following another impressive win last night under interim head coach Mike Woodson, New York jumped on a plane to Indiana and will search for its third consecutive victory. The Knicks are 20-24 on the season and are tied with the Bucks for the coveted No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Starting tonight, New York will play its next three of four games on the road before a three-game homestand at Madison Square Garden towards the end of the month. The unfortunate aspect to Friday’s resounding win was the injury to guard Baron Davis. The guard suffered a strained hamstring in the first half and did not return in the contest. He remained in New York to recover from the injury with the hope that he will be ready for the home game against the Raptors on Tuesday night.
Indiana: Despite the loss to New York on Friday, the Pacers maintained their No. 5 position in the East. Indiana’s road record dropped to 12-12 and 15-17 overall. Looking at the final nine games in the month of March, the Pacers will play five games at Conseco Fieldhouse and four on the road, including a tough matchup in San Antonio on March 31. Indiana enters the rematch completely healthy except for reserve center Jeff Foster, who is out at least a weeks due to an injured back.
Last Time Out
New York: As mentioned, the Knicks dismantled the Pacers 115-100 on Friday night at MSG. Tyson Chandler set the tone early and finished with 16 points, seven boards, and four blocked shots. New York shot 50.6 percent from the floor, hit 44 percent beyond the arc, registered 23 fast break points, and posted 52 points in the paint.
Indiana: The Pacers could not find the offensive touch in Friday’s contest. Danny Granger was ineffective from the floor, shooting just 4-for-15 and scoring nine points. Darren Collison was Indiana’s leading scorer with 15 points as the team only shot 39.5 percent.
The Numbers Game
Over the last two games, the Knicks have held their opponents to a combined 26 points in the first quarter. Additionally, New York has outscored Portland and Indiana 105-60 in the first half.
Match-up to Watch
Tyson Chandler vs. Roy Hibbert
In yesterday’s scouting report, the match-up to watch was the small forward battle between Carmelo Anthony and Danny Granger. After witnessing the Pacers offense on Friday, the more impactful position might be the center spot, featuring Chandler and Hibbert. Early in last night’s game, Hibbert attempted to establish a post presence but Chandler eliminated his productivity and the Indiana All-Star was limited to just four points on 2-for-10 shooting. Chandler was extremely efficient on the offensive side of the floor while completely demoralizing the Pacers frontline.
What to Look For
Indiana will certainly search for revenge after the Knicks destroyed them in the first of back-to-back contests. In the locker room following Friday’s game, Chandler said he expects a motivated Pacers squad, especially after Granger made this statement on Wednesday, “We got two games against New York, very winnable games. So we have to get the streak back up.”
Moving past the verbal sparring between the two teams and examining the past two performances for the Knicks, the gameplan is fairly simple. New York greatly increased its defensive pressure from the opening tip, which has led to easy scoring opportunities on the offensive side of the floor. Several of the Knicks have explained that the offensive scheme has not altered under Woodson but it seems the team is running pick-and-roll sets from different angles on the floor. This approach places the defense at a disadvantage while creating a myriad of pick-and-roll combinations for the supremely talented offensive players on the New York roster.