Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Knicks


Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Knicks

SCOUTING THE PACERS: With their last two losses coming by double-digits to teams with a combined record of 32-97, the Pacers (27-38) now carry a six-game losing streak into a stretch with five straight games against teams with winning records. The Pacers' issues have been comprehensive. Offensively, they're averaging 94.2 points on 41 percent shooting in the streak with more turnovers (106) than assists (88). Defensively, they've yielded 110.0 points per game on 48 percent shooting. Perhaps the biggest problem has been with slow starts. They've been outscored 184-138 in the first quarter and allowed four of the last five opponents to score at least 60 in the first half. The lone bright spot has been the play of power forward Tyler Hansbrough, who has scored at least 20 points in three straight games, averaging 22.3 on 59 percent shooting.

SCOUTING THE KNICKS: Coming off a 127-109 loss to Dallas Thursday that snapped a three-game win streak, the Knicks hope to regain the services of veteran point guard Chauncey Billups, who has missed six straight games with a thigh bruise but could return Sunday. New York is 6-4 since the blockbuster trade landing Carmelo Anthony and he hasn't disappointed, averaging 24.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists this month. Amare Stoudemire has flourished with Anthony on the court, averaging 30.6 points on 55 percent shooting in the last seven games. Former Pacers first-round pick Shawne Williams has revived his career, averaging 9.0 points while hitting 12-of-25 (48 percent) from the 3-point line in the last six games. The Knicks beat the Pacers 92-88 on Jan. 2, holding Indiana to 37 percent shooting overall, 30 percent in the fourth quarter.

KEY MATCHUP: Neither team would appear to have a matchup for the other's frontcourt. The Knicks have no pure center on the roster to contend with 7-2 Roy Hibbert, while the Pacers lack the athleticism to deal with Stoudemire. Indiana must exploit its size and strength advantages while containing New York's speed and quickness.

QUOTE MARKS: "We just have to play with the sense of urgency but we are not executing. We drew up three or four plays out of timeouts and we didn’t execute. It is difficult. We are not focused on the little details, execution, not giving up easy baskets in transition and it leads to losses. We are going to keep losing until we change it." -- Granger

INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Mike Dunleavy (broken left thumb) is out. For the Knicks, Chauncey Billups (bruised thigh) is day-to-day.

BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 6 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 5:30. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Mark Janes reporting.

INTERACT: You can chat with other fans around the country in our live game chat, which begins at tipoff.