Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM ET at Madison Square Garden
Game Preview: Pacers (50-17) at Knicks (27-40)
Scott Agness | Updated: March 18, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
The Pacers (50-17) face the Knicks (27-40) for the third and final time in the regular season on Wednesday night in New York. Like both previous meeting, Wednesday's game will air on national television (ESPN).
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Come Wednesday, the Knicks should be well rested after having three days off after winning Saturday night against Milwaukee. New York is currently riding a six-game win streak, though all of those wins came against sub-.500 ball clubs. Prior to their win streak, the Knicks endured a four-game slide against three playoff teams.
Related: Bynum Out Wednesday »
It’s been a rough season for the Knicks, to say the least. An Eastern Conference semifinalist last year, they’re currently on the outside looking in on the playoff hunt — four games behind Atlanta for the eighth and final postseason spot with less than one month to go in the regular season.
Seven-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony is the Knicks’ centerpiece, their lone player averaging more than 13.5 points per game (his average of 28.0 is second-best in the NBA). In two games against the Pacers this season, he’s averaged 29 points and 12.5 rebounds. The responsibility of slowing him down will fall on Paul George.
Arguably the biggest news for the Knicks this season came Tuesday morning, when legendary coach Phil Jackson signed a five-year contract to be the team’s president. He acknowledged that re-signing Anthony is part of his plans, but that first he wants to reshape the team’s culture.
Indiana has strung together four straight wins, though they haven’t been pretty. On Saturday in Detroit, they had to come back from a 25-point hole. On Monday, they didn’t finish off the Philadelphia 76ers, who’ve lost 21 consecutive games, until the final minutes. Regardless, they have kept winning and maintained their lead over Miami for the best record in the East — currently three-and-a-half games.
One player they’d like to get going is center Roy Hibbert. He hasn’t been his usual dominant self over the last month. His numbers, 8.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, agree. George said they’d like to get him going early in games and that one big offensive game could improve Hibbert’s state of mind.
With a win, the Pacers would sweep the season series with the Knicks for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign.
Pacers: Andrew Bynum (not with team, knee soreness), C.J. Watson (out, right hamstring strain)
Knicks: Andrea Bargnani (out, torn ligament in left elbow), Kenyon Martin (out, sore left ankle)
“They’re playing great basketball. Anytime you go to New York and you got them playing well and it’s on ESPN, it’s going to have a different feel than a lot of these games have been.” – Frank Vogel on the Knicks
“Tough stretch, and I think our guys will welcome that. It’s a different kind of feel than trying to beat a team on a 20-game losing streak.” – Frank Vogel
“It’s going to be a fun one. Despite what New York’s record is, I still consider them a good team and a team that always gives us a run for our money. It’s going to be a fun game, and a game we got to bring it. They’re playing good basketball.” – Paul George
“It’s always tough to play there. They got a great team, and I’m sure they’re going to play with a lot of energy. We got a job to do. We’re fighting for that No. 1 spot and they're just the next team in the way.” – George Hill
“This is great for us. It’s a great challenge ahead. It’s going to give us a real type of playoff atmosphere before it actually starts. It’s on us to turn on that playoff mode. It’s time. The games we have coming up are great, it’s going to be a challenge and I think everybody is up for it.” – Ian Mahinmi on their upcoming schedule
“We really want to get Roy engaged to get start games off because the paint is where games is won. Roy opens the paint up and spreads the floor for us. We want to get Roy back to where Roy was for us this time last year. I know it’s going to come around for him.” – Paul George on Roy Hibbert
- The Pacers have won both meetings with the Knicks this season.
- Pacers forward Chris Copeland averaged 8.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in 56 games with the Knicks last season.
- Lance Stephenson grew up in Brooklyn and won the city basketball championships all four years while playing at Abraham Lincoln High School. Roy Hibbert was born in Queens.
- Knicks 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.
January 16: Lance Stephenson scored a career-high 28 points against his hometown team as the Pacers had one of their most efficient offensive nights of the season in a 117-89 whipping of the Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers had a lead as large as 30, shot 50 percent from the floor and 91 percent from the line, and had six players in double figures. They were making the simple plays and only committed six turnovers.
Paul George tallied 25 points and David West had 12, and Luis Scola added 10 & 7. Carmelo Anthony scored 18 of his 28 points in the first quarter and center Tyson Chandler helped out with 13 points and nine boards. The Knicks made just 4-of-19 3-point attempts and were outscored in the paint, 40-22.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
ESPN - Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Doug Collins (analyst) and Lisa Salters (reporter)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)