Wednesday, February 20 at 7:00 PM at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: IND (32-21) vs NYK (32-18)
by Scott Agness
After the annual All-Star break, the Pacers return to action Wednesday against the New York Knicks, who are second in the East and 1.5 games ahead of Indiana.
For the Pacers (32-21), it's back to an extended stretch of home games – four of their next five and six of eight. As for the Knicks (32-18), losers of three of their last four heading into All-Star break, it’s about returning to the win column and keeping some distance from the Pacers. They've won the season series against Indiana in each of the past four seasons but this year looks to be as competitive as the games a decade ago.
The Knicks can come at you in a variety of ways. Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s second leading scorer (28.6ppg), will be a big point of emphasis. It’s important to slow Anthony early, because he’s the highest scoring player in the first quarter, averaging nearly nine points per game. He was suspended by the league for their last matchup, so he may be particularly motivated.
Center Tyson Chandler is a double-double guy, and he leads the league in field goal efficiency (67 percent) and offensive rebounds per game (4.5). Jason Kidd is the orchestrator of the offense. Second-year guard Iman Shumpert is back in the fold after missing their first 37 games because of a torn ACL, which he suffered last season.
J.R. Smith, one of the top candidates for Sixth Man of the Year, is having the best season of his nine-year career. He’s averaging 16.2 points, 5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. If the Pacers can slow Anthony, Smith is likely the next guy on their scoring threat list.
Meanwhile, the Pacers try for their second consecutive win over the Knicks. In addition to coming off his first All-Star game, Paul George recorded his first triple-double in the Pacers’ last game, a home win over Charlotte. David West missed the game, his first absence as a member of the Pacers, due to a scratched left eye. West will play and he was thankful for the last week off to get better, though he’s not 100 percent.
Despite practicing the past two days, Danny Granger’s season debut is on hold. Frank Vogel said he wants Granger, who’s recovering from left patellar tendinosis, to be 100 percent healthy and comfortable before returning. He is progressing and his status remains day-to-day.
Pacers: Danny Granger (day-to-day, left knee)
Knicks: Marcus Camby (out, strained left plantar fascia), Rasheed Wallace (out, sore left foot)
"The scoring punch that they have, with J.R. Smith and Carmelo (Anthony), plus (how Tyson) Chandler rolls to the basket and the way they spread you out from the 3-point line. They’re as tough as any team in the NBA to guard." – Frank Vogel on what’s most concerning with the Knicks
"We’re going to hold him out tomorrow. He had two good practices, but still just not quite there yet. Still day-to-day.” – Frank Vogel on Danny Granger
"The way they can spread the floor. They shoot the ball really well and I think that's something we're going to have to lock into—limit their 3-point shooting." – Paul George on the Knicks
"This is definitely a game we’ll be up for. We’re only a game-and-a-half back from New York and it’s very possible that we can move up to the second seed." – Paul George
- The Pacers have won two of the last three meetings.
- Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler were teammates during last weekend’s NBA All-Star game in Houston.
- Pacers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh was the Knicks’ President from 2008-2011.
- Mike Woodson, one of four NBA head coaches that attended Indiana University, was born in Indianapolis and attended Broad Ripple High School.
- Knicks assistant coach Herb Williams played for the Pacers from 1981-89.
In front of a national audience (TNT), the Pacers defeated the New York Knicks 81-76. The Pacers used a 21-4 run, which included 13 in a row, while the Knicks missed 11 straight shots during a seven-minute span. Knicks leader Carmelo Anthony was suspended by the NBA for the game, after an incident with Kevin Garnett and the Celtics earlier in the week.
All-Star Paul George delivered a complete game, finishing with 24 points, 11 rebounds, a career-high six steals and five assists in leading the Pacers to victory. Roy Hibbert missed most of the game with back spasms so Ian Mahinmi played in his place and was strong. Mahinmi had 13 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.
J.R. Smith scored a game-high 25 points and dished out six assists. The Knicks shot 35 percent from the field and were held scoreless in transition.
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: AM 1070 The Fan, FM 107.5 The Fan Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
Good seats remain for the Pacers-Knicks matchup and features College Night presented by the Indiana National Guard. Find Tickets »