Pacers at Knicks

Game Preview: Pacers at Knicks

Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 7:30 PM ET at Madison Square Garden
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss





Matchup

After falling on Friday night in Detroit, the Pacers (14-8) will look to bounce back and secure a winning road trip against a motivated Knicks team on Saturday evening in New York.

Indiana is coming off a 108-101 loss to the Pistons where Detroit outrebounded the Pacers 51-33, the worst rebounding margin for the Blue & Gold in any game this season. The Pacers rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to take the lead, but surrendered 37 points in the fourth quarter, including seven unanswered in the final minute of the contest.

The loss dropped the Pacers to 2-2 on their first five-game road trip of the season. They still have a chance to close the trip with a winning record, which would appear on paper to be a doable task against a Knicks team with the NBA's worst record (4-18).

But New York made headlines on Friday afternoon, firing second-year head coach David Fizdale as well as assistant coach Keith Smart. Teams historically play well in their first game after a coaching change, so the Knicks may have more motivation on Saturday in their first game under interim coach Mike Miller.

The Knicks are in rebuilding mode and the centerpiece of that rebuild currently is rookie guard RJ Barrett. The former Duke star and third overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft is averaging 14.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, but has struggled to find efficient ways to score, shooting just 38.6 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from 3-point range.

Even though they are playing on a back-to-back against a possibly rejuvenated team, the Pacers should have enough talent to earn a win in New York. Doing so is of extra importance with a difficult two-game homestand looming, as the Clippers (16-7) and Celtics (16-5) are scheduled to visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse next week.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Jeremy Lamb, SF - T.J. Warren, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Knicks: PG - Frank Ntilikina, SG - RJ Barrett, SF - Marcus Morris, PF - Julius Randle, C - Taj Gibson

Injury Report

Pacers: JaKarr Sampson - doubtful (sore back), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee surgery rehab)

Knicks: Reggie Bullock - out (cervical disc herniation)

Last Meeting

March 12, 2019: The Pacers took care of business, handling the Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 103-98. Indiana withstood a late rally from the NBA's worst team in 2018-19 to grind out the victory.

"Whenever you get a win it's a good thing," Pacers guard Cory Joseph said. "But we still didn't play our basketball today. We know we've just got to keep on playing together, playing hard."

Bojan Bogdanovic led all scorers with 24 points, going 9-for-16 from the field and 3-for-8 from 3-point range. Darren Collison had 16 points and nine assists, while Myles Turner added 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.

Emmanuel Mudiay led New York with 21 points, while Damyean Dotson added 18 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Kevin Knox finished with 16 points and DeAndre Jordan tallied 12 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists in the loss.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won six straight games against the Knicks, including all four meetings last season. The Knicks' last win over Indiana came at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 5, 2017.
  • Indiana is 1-2 so far this season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
  • Pacers forward Doug McDermott was teammates with current Knicks Taj Gibson (2014-17 in Chicago and Oklahoma City), Bobby Portis (2015-17 in Chicago), and Dennis Smith Jr. (2018 in Dallas).

Tickets

After a five-game road trip, the Pacers will return home to host Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)

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