Sunday, May 5th, 2013 at 3:30 PM EDT at Madison Square Garden

Game Preview: IND at NYK, Game 1

Scott Agness | May 4, 2013

Matchup

Both Indiana and New York finished off their first round opponents – Atlanta and Boston – Friday night setting up for an intriguing matchup. The rivalry is renewed.

The Pacers and Knicks will now faceoff in postseason play for the seventh time, but just the first since 2000. Game 1 is in the Big Apple on Sunday afternoon with the nation watching on ABC. Ironically, 2000 was the last time the Knicks had won a playoff series before this season. That year, the Pacers beat the Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals (4-2), but then fell in the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. The postseason series between the teams is tied at three wins apiece, but the Pacers taken three of the last four.

Related: Pacers win First Round, Take Detour into History »

Thanks to a late season push, which included a 13-game win streak, New York beat out Indiana for the two-seed, its highest seed since 1994. So the Knicks, directed by Mike Woodson and led by the NBA’s scoring champion Carmelo Anthony, host the selfless and defensive-centric Pacers on the grand stage.

New York is very strong on their home floor, winning 10 consecutive games to open and eight to close the regular season. They are 33-11 at the Garden, where they’ve have won three straight over Indiana, including both Sunday afternoon contests this season. Keep in mind – until Friday’s win over Atlanta to clinch the series, the Pacers hadn’t won there all season, either.

In the postseason, the Pacers are averaging almost seven more points per game than the Knicks and have a slightly better shooting percentage (.415). They’ve done an excellent job of getting to the foul line, attempting nearly 29 per game and knocking them down at a 79 percent rate. They must keep down their turnovers, which gave them problems in three of six games in the opening round.

To remain on their winning path, the Pacers must stick to what got them here: defense and rebounding – two items that aren’t exactly high up on the Knicks’ list. They were 26th in the league in rebounding and 18th in field goal percentage defense. The Pacers, on the other hand, were No. 1 in both categories.

Individually, Paul George has the tall task of slowing Anthony. George recently said that Anthony, who averaged 28.7 points per game and won his first scoring title, is the toughest player for him to guard because it’s “pick your poison” with him. Anthony scored at least 30 points in 39 games this season. His season-high against the Pacers is 26. The six-time NBA All-Star can score in bunches, particularly in the first quarter of games.

Just like their series with Atlanta, the Pacers must contain their man and contest all shots because the Knicks can beat you behind the arc. They set a new NBA single season record with 898 3-pointers. The guarding the line very well in their two regular season wins, holding the Knicks to nine made 3-pointer field goals, right about their per game averages in the playoffs.

This has all ingredients to make for a special, memorable series. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Raymond Felton

Raymond Felton

Pablo Prigioni

Pablo Prigioni

Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

Tyson Chandler

Tyson Chandler

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out for the season, left knee)
Knicks: Steve Novak (out, back spasms), Amare Stoudemire (out, right knee debridement)

Quotable

“Enough. As much as we would in a regular season game. When you play a team four times you have a pretty good understanding of them.” – Frank Vogel on how much the coaching stuff has been able to prepare for the game

“Sam Young will probably be a bigger factor in this series than he was in the last series. You could see Jeff Pendergraph on him. We can put David [West] or Tyler [Hansbrough] on him if Paul gets in foul trouble. We have to be ready to double-team him, too.” – Frank Vogel on guarding Carmelo Anthony

“Very encouraged. That's what I talked to them mostly about this morning. When we play our defense with the energy and passion that we showed in the last two games, we can be dominant on the defensive end. Not just good, but dominant.” – Frank Vogel on his feel for the way they’ve been playing defense

“It's in the back of my mind, but he played one of his better games the last time we were here.” – Frank Vogel on keeping Lance Stephenson, who grew up nearby, from getting too excited

Noteworthy

  • History of winning Game 1 – the Pacers have won 14-of-18 series that they’ve been successful in the first game of a series.
  • The Knicks were 26-2 in regular season when they held opponents to 90 points or less.
  • Knicks guard J.R. Smith was the recipient of the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award.
  • Lance Stephenson grew up in Brooklyn and played high school ball at Abraham Lincoln High School. Roy Hibbert was born in Queens.
  • Pacers President Donnie Walsh served as the Knicks’ President of Basketball Operations from 2008-11.
  • Hawks head coach Mike Woodson is an Indianapolis native who attended both Broad Ripple High School and Indiana University. One of his assistants, Herb Williams, was drafted by the Pacers in 1981 and played with the team until 1989.

Last Meeting

April 14: In the second-to-last regular season game, and on the road, the Pacers fell behind by 20 in the second quarter and finished with a season-high 26 turnovers in a 90-80 loss at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks clinched the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with the win and the Pacers got their three-seed locked up when Brooklyn also lost that day.

Carmelo Anthony started red-shot and accounted for New York’s first 11 points. Then tied at 13, the Knicks went on a 28-8 run but were within seven at recess. Lance Stephenson led the way with 22 points and David West scored 17. Anthony tallied 25 and backup center Chris Copeland scored 20. The Knicks scored 33 points off of turnovers, more than the Pacers scored in the paint all game.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings | Broadcast Schedule

TV: ABC - Mike Breen (play-by-play), Jeff Van Gundy (analyst), Doris Burke (reporter)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Michael Grady (host)
Note: The Pacers TV crew of Chris Denari, Quinn Buckner, Austin Croshere and Brooke Olzendam will have a 30-minute postgame show on FOX Sports Indiana immediately following the game./>/>

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