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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Game Preview & Thread: Pacers @ Knicks

The New York Knicks host the Indiana Pacers tonight in a game where both teams come into tonight riding a multiple game winning streak. To get a better idea of what the Knicks have in store for them tonight I brought in Tom Lewis of Indy Cornrows to preview tonight’s game.

Enjoy!

The Pacers won just two of their six games to start this month, but since then have won four straight. Granted, they’ve been against lottery-bound teams, but every win matters as the team tries to lock up the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. What do you make of the Pacers play of late? Are you confident they’ll finish strong and get the 1 seed?

Tom: In the prior three seasons, the Pacers have hit a lull during the first half of March and then righted the ship to close out the season, which is why I haven’t panicked over the recent mediocre play. The stakes and pressure on the team are higher this year, but I’m confident the Pacers will finish strong and be ready for the playoffs, but that may not be enough to hold onto the top seed in the East. Before the end of March, the Pacers play Chicago twice, Memphis, Miami, Washington and San Antonio, so we should have a much better sense of where they stand compared to the Heat by April 1. Tonight at MSG they begin their sink or swim stretch at a place which usually brings out a strong effort.

It’s only a small sample size but Evan Turner is shooting 46 percent from 3, 63 percent from the corner, since being a member of the Indiana Pacers. How is he fitting in with the club offensively and defensively in your opinion? Could he play a significant role for the team come playoff time?

Tom: Turner has shown flashes of great and bad and about everything in-between, but the best thing he’s shown is his versatility off the bench to help generate some offense for the Pacers reserve unit. Due to a variety of injuries, Turner was thrown into the fire right after the trade and forced to run the reserve team as a point guard, even when he only knew a few plays. No one died and they even won some games, but he does dominate the ball and takes a ton of shots. That three-point shot is shaky despite the recent success and not something opponents are bothering to cover. I guess if he keeps making one or two per game that could change, but regardless he will play a big role going into the playoffs. Hopefully, C.J. Watson will be healthy by then and Turner’s role in the rotation will be better defined.

The Pacers are first in the league in defensive efficiency and second in rebounding rate. What makes them so dominant in those two areas?

Tom: The Pacers’ success is built on their defense which is the primary focus for everything they do. The starting unit is long and athletic with Roy Hibbert roaming the post to defend the rim which allows the other defenders to remain aggressive. When I say long, I mean throughout the whole starting lineup they are able to cover a lot of ground. George Hill has a 6’9 wingspan, Lance Stephenson 6’10, Paul George 6’11, David West 7’4 and then Hibbert around 7’5. They also send wings to crash the glass, although their offensive rebound numbers have dropped off this year, which is likely a result on trying to shore up their transition defense

Paul George got off to a really hot start early in the year and because of that he was thrust into the spotlight as an early MVP favorite. Because of his stellar play early his game has been under intense, albeit unfair, scrutiny for the most part. What do you make of George’s season as a whole?

Tom: Paul George has had a second incredible season and seems to be playing quite well once again after hitting a dead spot around the All-Star break. I definitely think the talk of his rising status among the league’s elite players impacted his game for a time and he tried to start doing too much with the ball which isn’t his game. He will never get credit for the defensive effort he puts in on the other team’s best player for every game. People applaud his elite defensive effort, but when it comes time to start comparing elite players, the default is always to look at the offensive numbers. But at 23, PG’s improvement from last year at this time is impressive and if then compared to where he was 16 months ago at the start of last season, the jump is astronomical. The best thing about this season is he’s learning (the hard way in some instances) how to be the top dog for a top team. Fortunately, he still has a great supporting cast.

Who ultimately wins tonight and why?

Tom: Based on the last couple of weeks, I have no reason to think the Pacers will rise up and play a solid 48 minutes, especially against a team in the Knicks that have found some combinations that are working. But I still think stepping onto the court at MSG combined with the grind the Pacers are in to raise their level of play will trigger an effort from the starting unit that will lead to a win. The Knicks have been lighting it up of late, but if the Pacers win it will be with defense and keeping the home team under 100 points.

135 comments on “Game Preview & Thread: Pacers @ Knicks

  1. Brian Cronin

    Nice work, Chase and Tom!

    I really hope that they can somehow steal one tonight. I am way too invested in this game, as it probably doesn’t really matter that much in the long with their odds being so poor for making the playoffs but I can’t help it.

  2. Eternal OptiKnist

    I wish I could say my rooting interest in the playoffs is to only spoil denver’s party, but I can’t help but always root for this team. Always hoping. I am very excited about phil.

  3. Owen

    Yep, good preview!

    I have a bad feeling about tonight, got to be honest. But hoping for the best….

  4. maxwell_3g

    how can you hate Lance???? i always think, “Would this guy fit in on the old Ewing/Oakley Knicks teams?” If the answer is yes, then I like the guy. Hence, my favorite players in the league are Lance, Noah, and Rondo

  5. Eternal OptiKnist

    Just watched the. Press conf in its entirety. What a leader..he exudes it. Interesting that he said there isn’t a great crop of free agents this summer; it all depends on what folks do with opt-ins. Hmmmmmm…

  6. DRed

    Long jumpers. Come on guys. My credibility is on the line here. We still got this.

    #takethatcronin

  7. DRed

    Prigs getting to the iron. I thought the pacers could play D? This one is in the bag.

    #takethatcronin

  8. Brian Cronin

    Usually it’s like, “This lead can’t hold because the Knicks are making too many shots.” So shooting 32% and holding a lead is a rare turn of events!

  9. d-mar

    The Knicks 1st quarter defense is WAY better over the last 6-7 games, it’s a shame they took 60 games to figure it out.

  10. Brian Cronin

    is woodson playing cole because phil specifically said he like him?

    It’d be hilarious is that was the case. “Maybe he’ll let me keep my job!” Oh, Woody, you delusional loser.

  11. DRed

    Who could have seen this coming? Me. That’s who.
    #takethatcronin

    Dolan has done more interviews this week than in the past decade

  12. nicos

    Like the JR three but a three on two fast break where both wings stop at the three point line? No wonder Felton was shaking his head.

  13. Brian Cronin

    The best part about this is George’s 0fer.

    Well, okay, not the BEST part, but it’s pretty darn good.

  14. maxwell_3g

    George’s game has really gone down the shitter ever since it was revealed that he knocked up that stripper and offered her 1 million dollars to get an abortion, which she declined. that will be a pleasant headline for that child to one day stumble across on the internet

  15. ephus

    Irving Azoff and the Eagles were the missing piece.

    Proud fan.

    Been to more than 10 shows.

    Named the dog Henley.

  16. yellowboy90

    So a coach can be outside the coaches box and scream like that? What is that line for?

  17. lavor postell

    Really Vogel? You’re yelling at Felton on the sidelines? Also what do West or Vogel have to do to get a technical?

  18. maxwell_3g

    this is hilarious. dolan had never had the game of basketball explained to him before…and he was running our team with an iron fist

  19. maxwell_3g

    has shump made a long 2 all season??? i love the guy, but its amazing how he never makes those pullups

  20. d-mar

    Dolan sounds like a guy you meet at a bar who you realize is full of shit after about 5 minutes

  21. d-mar

    The Pacers are doing everything possible to lose this game – turnovers, missed foul shots, etc.

    I would be very disappointed if we ended up losing to them.

  22. yellowboy90

    Woody with the high PnR instead of Iso. I am reminded of the movie Congo, “We are watching you”

  23. lavor postell

    We all know if that was Carmelo that it would definitely have been a flagrant. That being said didn’t seem like George was trying to do anything but turn and go.

  24. maxwell_3g

    its amazing how much better tyson’s attitude is now that we really have someone in charge

  25. lavor postell

    Watching Hibbert score in the post is like the death of basketball. A very very slow and methodical death

  26. yellowboy90

    They might want to double Hibbert on the 1st dribble. I don’t like Hardaway being on the floor though.

  27. lavor postell

    Nice to see the Knicks get away with a blatant foul of their own and capitalize with a breakaway goalten to end the quarter

  28. yellowboy90

    There should be a rule that the 3man weave between Melo/Tyson/Felton be ran 5 times a qtr and the high double PnR and the triple PnR be ran at least 5 times too.

  29. maxwell_3g

    THAT was such an awesome play by melo. that play exemplified his growth as a passer perfectly

  30. lavor postell

    Knicks 2 fouls away from the penalty with 8:33 left. Both fouls on Shump were questionable

  31. Totes McGoats

    That play just now after Melo went down an Stephenson tried to get down the court and got popped? I LOVE IT! Haven’t seen that pride, attitude, and physicality since EwingOakleyMasonStarksHarper

  32. llcoolbp

    Long time since I’ve posted. New job, new city.
    I just went nuts with that Felton 3. Feels nice to have a playoff like atmosphere at the garden tonight.

  33. DRed

    Hibbert’s bitch got badly outscored, but somehow got 11 more rebounds than his master. Wild that we won with such a bad performance by the bench

  34. Frank O.

    Execute here and put it away.
    For a moment there I thought Woodson was going to let them play

  35. DRed

    So they only game we beat Indy is the one without Bargnani. You know, the guy we got to beat Indiana. lolknicks

  36. lavor postell

    Dude with Bargnani we probably would have won by 20. You have to respect a 28% three point shooter whenever he’s on the floor.

  37. Totes McGoats

    I know it’s only one game..but this one felt good. I saw a team who fought and out-bullied the bullies the entire game. Melo just decided he was gonna play big boy ball and destroy who ever guarded him. George, who usually defends him well, couldn’t handle him. He pushed and elbowed poor Stephenson around. And he went blow for blow with West. Now the real question is, how long can the team sustain it? Can we keep winning til we get to Phoenix? Sounds possible. And this is where i’m torn. I don’t see success or playoff relevance in this season..but we have a stretch like this and my mind starts to ponder the possibilities. One last thing: It sure is good to see STAT still on the court and playing well.

  38. lavor postell

    Fuck David West, Fuck Lance Stephenson
    Fuck the Indiana Pacers as a team, franchise and as a motherfuckin crew

  39. BigBlueAL

    Charlotte has a pretty tough next few games. Knicks win their next 3 like they should they could be only a couple back in loss column of Charlotte and possibly 3 in loss column back of Atlanta. Problem is schedule gets alot tougher for Knicks after that.

  40. d-mar

    Amen, Lavor, I really, really hope the NBA champion comes from the West, do not want to see the Heat or the Pacers winning it.

  41. danielbubbs1

    there are a few other tough games left, but the killer games the rest of the way are at Phoenix, at Golden State and at Miami….if the knicks win every game except those 3 (unlikely that they’d win every other game, but they pretty much have to) they’d finish 39-43.

    So say the knicks finish 11-3; that would mean Charlotte would have to finish no better than 5-8 or Atlanta would have to finish no better than 8-9.

  42. danielbubbs1

    “Charlotte has a pretty tough next few games”

    yeah, but unfortunately after that tough few gams, the rest of their schedule is a cakewalk.

    really think the Knicks have to go 13-1, maybe 12-2 if the 2 losses are in the west so the Knicks get a tiebreak.

  43. Totes McGoats

    Fuck David West, Fuck Lance Stephenson
    Fuck the Indiana Pacers as a team, franchise and as a motherfuckin crew

    An if u wanna be down wit the Indiana Pacers then f–k u 2!

    hahaha I got ya back lavor
    #HitEmUp

  44. lavor postell

    I don’t know I really am not a huge believe in Charlotte. They made a nice push but ultimately that team is still Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson. Neal and Ridnour are upgrades from what they had, but those guys don’t elevate them to a higher plateau. Atlanta and Charlotte are battling for the 7th and 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. It is likely they lost at least one game to a shitty team in this stretch run and are highly likely to lose more than 1. Obviously the Knicks are more than capable of shitting the bed as well, but this team is so bizarro with how they close out seasons who knows what to expect?

  45. lavor postell

    Seriously how the hell does David West not lead the league in technical fouls? That guy has never commited a foul, never knocked a ball out of bounds, never moved on a screen, never pushed off on a rebound and he’s going to let you know EVERY SINGLE TIME you tell him he has. Melo got some kind of innocuous tech for bitching at the refs, which ok I get, but be a bit consistent with it. We got Vogel running on the court cursing at Felton, but apparently that’s just part of being a blue collar team, defensive team.

    That Stephenson no look pass cum turnover was so fucking stupid and I enjoyed every second of it.

  46. Brian Cronin

    Charlotte just having 13 games left is the killer in it all.

    But sure, of course the Knicks have a chance. Which is awesome in and of itself. I just like to have some hope.

  47. Dudley

    Assuming the Pacers are the 1 seed, how fun would it be to upset the Pacers in round 1?
    It’s not really that absurd. The Knicks currently (w/o injury) are better than the Knicks that lost a 6 game series (Kidd was nonexistent, I don’t believe Novak played, THJ was in college, JR Smith was worse, Amare was as well, and Chandler was the worse he has ever been and maybe ever will be – Copeland and Kenyon Martin were contributors but overall this team is better – and Barganani (sp?) might not be so bad against the Pacers in a bench role if he plays). The Pacers are more stacked than last year, but they aren’t playing much better than how they were in the playoffs.

    I think an objective person would assume another 6 game series with a chance of 7. Of course, Pacers winning. But if it goes 7 games, anything can happen.

    That and Brooklyn as a 4 or 5 seed beating the Bulls, making a Knicks-Nets 2nd round matchup…
    Literally would erase the 1st half of this season from both franchises memory.

  48. lavor postell

    The Pacers being more “stacked” isn’t something I believe to be honest. I think George and Stephenson both carried over the leaps they made in the playoffs last season into the regular season which is the biggest cause for improvement. Watson has been an improvement over whatever they had in terms of guard depth off the bench, but other than that Scola, Turner and Mahinmi aren’t really doing much for them. Amare being healthy is a huge difference if we can get to that point.

    Hopefully Bargnani isn’t healthy by that point. The only person I care about being available that isn’t right now is KMart. Having him available would help us out a lot.

  49. Dudley

    Lavor, last year the Pacers had no body on the bench that didn’t drastically make the team worse in the +/-.
    They have now Scola, Watson, Copeland, whoever they got for Granger…
    I mean stacked in the relative sense, being that last year they had nothing doing.
    Of course, it’s still about their starting 5.
    Agree about having Martin back – would be very helpful for the Knicks.

  50. lavor postell

    I know we shit on Felton a lot and he deserves most of it, but recovering the loose ball before banking in that crazy 3 and then stripping West before a sure layup and then tiptoeing the sideline to keep the ball in bounds was really big for us tonight. He also hit that elbow jumper that iced the game. Think most of our guard issues tonight had to do with getting almost nothing from JR, Shump and THJ.

  51. AvonBarksdale

    @119, @125 Tupac references appreciated
    We tradin’ Knicks stories, Old Phil on the rise, Jealous Woodson I despiseā€¦.
    Melo thugged out on the coach tonight, i love the honesty of that moment.

  52. massive

    It would bring me no greater joy than to see the Pacers and Frank Vogel’s face eliminated in the 1st round by Potato Head Woodson’s Knicks. No. Greater. Joy.

    Of course that would mean we can’t fire Woodson, but the Knicks’ beat is dumb enough to say we would only win because of “Phil Jackson’s presence in New York.”

  53. Brian Cronin

    I remember a time when the Knicks barely made the playoffs as the #8 seed and their embattled coach was going to be fired due to Phil Jackson and then something happened. I forget what. I think it was good.

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