Game Preview & Thread: Knicks vs. Pacers

The Knicks, who lost their third straight to the worst defensive team in the NBA last night, will be facing off against the league’s best — and the team that knocked them out of last year’s postseason — when the Indiana Pacers roll into town tonight.

In anticipation of this match-up, I asked Pacers-loyal, outstanding statistician and writer Ian Levy about Indiana’s team this season and the approaching matchup. Ian runs the NBA site Hickory High, and you can find his writing at Bleacher Report, Hardwood Paroxysm, Indy Cornrows and HoopChalk.

Can you give an outside perspective on the Knicks struggles? Anything you’ve noticed, could be a brief overview or a specific thing you’ve noticed that perhaps Knicks-nation has overlooked. 
As long as I’ve been watching them, the Knicks have been the picture of organizational volatility. Sometimes chaos, fire and brimstone coalesce into a destructive force. But sometimes you burn down your own kitchen.
Paul George is sporting a career-high PER of 23.7, averaging 23 points per game on 59% true-shooting. Has he risen to the next level or is a regression on it’s way?
Some regression is on it’s way, particularly with regards to his mid-range shooting. But he’s already leaps and bounds ahead of where he was to begin last season. The next barriers for him are maintaining consistency and finding ways to balance the inside and outside parts of his offensive game. He’s been incredible to start the season but if he can’t find a way to work his to the interior more often the Pacers are going to have a hard time creating a consistently efficient offense with him as the centerpiece.
The Knicks have started 5 different starting lineups in just 10 games, while the Pacers have just started two. Are consistency and a locked-in identity the Pacers’ best attributes?
The Pacers best attribute is their #BlueCollarGoldSwagger. But after that, the consistency in their rotations would probably come next. Being able to run the same starting five out nearly every night (for two seasons) let’s let everyone settle into their scaffolded roles, offensively and defensively. No one has questions about when they’ll play or what they’ll be asked to do.
The Knicks can potentially run a five-out lineup against Indiana with Bargnani at the C and Melo at the PF, meaning Hibbert and West should leave the painted area on defense. How effective do you think this look could be against the Pacers? Should it start? Do the defensive issues outweigh the offensive boost?
In the playoffs last season the Pacers often let George guard Melo switching West onto a less threatening back court player. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them do something similar again. To be honest I think the Pacers would be fine with Bargnani shooting jump shots and I don’t think the threat of him on the outside will do much to move Hibbert. If the Knicks win this game I don’t think it’s going to be tinkering with rotations and match ups that create the opportunity.
Indiana’s biggest weakness last year was their bench, how big of an impact have their new additions made in that aspect?
They haven’t been world beaters, but honestly all the Pacers needed last season was competency. So far they have more than sufficed in that regard.
Can we have Chris Copeland back? Pretty please?
I hear Shumpert might be available…?
How about Donnie Walsh?
No deal.

Finally, who takes tonight’s game and why?

The Pacers. They’re a much better team and play a variance-stomping style of basketball.

Liked it? Take a second to support David Vertsberger on Patreon!

David Vertsberger

David Vertsberger considers himself a precocious neophyte, writing for ESPN TrueHoop site HawksHoop as well as Hickory-High. A member of the younger generation of Knickerbocker fans, his fondest memories of years past have been the trade for Larry Hughes and Nate Robinson scoring 41 following a month-long benching.

205 thoughts to “Game Preview & Thread: Knicks vs. Pacers”

  1. Anyone else think giving Odom a shot might be worth it right now? At one time he was a great “glue” guy and high IQ player, and has a championship pedigree and is probably still a better rebounder than anyone we have currently which is honestly pretty sorry. The only downside I can think of is that the knicks would probably cut aldrich or murray.

  2. @ 2. feels like a reach… i couldnt tell you exactly why but it doesnt overly excite me… plus, who knows where he’s at mentally, physically, drug addict-ly…

  3. Obviously, Odom won’t move the needle too much but gotta start somewhere were pretty close to rock bottom right now.

  4. drug addict-ly lol that’s good and seriously could be a concern you are right. I have heard that he has been spotted working out at URI where he went to school. This signals to me that he is trying to return as much as possible mentally and physically to the player he once was. Clearly, he would have to be vetted but I am surprised knicks aren’t involved in any rumors about scooping him up.

  5. 2013 Lamar Odom is just the kind of guy James Dolan creams over. But I think he’s waiting for Odom to sign somewhere so that he can trade Shumpert to get him.

  6. @ 5… if he’s up in Rhode Island it sounds legit… I really liked his game a few years ago, loved his size (which he still has)… all the hearsay, and these ifs and past tense references, I’m waiving my own red flag

  7. Oh how I miss abbey’s pithy, prickly posts – and that’s from someone who’s been on the end of a few of them. Plus Jowles just isn’t the same without his chief nemesis. It’s like Superman without Lex Luthor, Abbott without Costello, Pipe without Half-Pipe. OCCUPY Knickerblogger!! Bring back our resident curmudgeon! Years ago there was a story of this guy who went into involuntary convulsions whenever Mary Hart of ET was on the TV. Poor Robert is Abbey’s Mary Hart. Give him 4 shots/year at Robert/Mike K. but ban him for a year if he exceeds his quota. We need jon to help us get through these dark days.

  8. In the words of Andy Dufrense, “Hope is a good thing.”

    I hope this message finds Knick fans, and finds them doing well.

    I hope that Carmelo Anthony is able to attack single coverage, and pass out of double teams.

    I hope that Bargnani is called upon to cover Hibbert in the post, and not to protect the rim against penetration.

    I hope that JR Smith finds his shooting stroke, and uses it for open threes and attacking the lane.

    I hope that Beno Udrih converts his devastating first step into points and assists.

    I hope that Iman Shumpert exhibits the dogged defense that made him a fan favorite.

    Despite all evidence, my hope will never die.

  9. In the words of Andy Dufrense, “Hope is a good thing.”

    I hope this message finds Knick fans, and finds them doing well.

    I hope that Carmelo Anthony is able to attack single coverage, and pass out of double teams.

    I hope that Bargnani is called upon to cover Hibbert in the post, and not to protect the rim against penetration.

    I hope that JR Smith finds his shooting stroke, and uses it for open threes and attacking the lane.

    I hope that Beno Udrih converts his devastating first step into points and assists.

    I hope that Iman Shumpert exhibits the dogged defense that made him a fan favorite.

    Despite all evidence, my hope will never die.

    Keep Hope Alive!!!!!!!

  10. i keep seeing these STAT for Humphries and G. Wallace rumors. They are just rumors. But if the Knicks take on Wallace’s contract, which lasts even longer than Stat’s, I give up. it would reek of not only Isaih and Laydum moves, where we trade shitty shorter term contracts for shitty longer term contracts (Shandon Anderson, weatherspoon, steve francis….). The fact that the romor is even out there shows how stupid others think the knicks are

  11. im identifying with the Andy Dufrense who has to crawl through a quarter mile of raw sewage right now.

  12. Variance stomping, i like that….

    Going to be fun to see Melo go head to head with George, on a number of levels…..

  13. That being said though, I do like Indiana and Hibbert in particular (I know that may not be looked at kindly on these boards, but I really do like his game, verticality and all).

  14. yes Kahzy, I agree. I honestly feel that hibbert is easily one of the top 20 players in the league

  15. Is this some type of alternate universe? are we all watching the same game??? or is this version only on the MSG feed, and the Knicks are actually down 11-0 on ESPN

  16. Hibbert is on K-mart but he is still away from the rim. Chandler keep that jumper going when you get back.

    Knicks are trying to pull me in. Will I let them? Should I? lol

  17. wasn’t lance Stephenson still available when Mr. Basketball Donnie Walsh drafted both Jerome Jordan and Andy Rautins??

  18. Aggressive but not overly so defense + some movement and passing on offense = a nice enjoyable start. Keep it up.

  19. They’re doing a great job making Indy take outside jumpers instead of going to the hoop.

  20. Well all of our Country Cole dreams were just flushed down the toilet with that damn Hibbert 3

  21. There’s that Hibbert. Vertical leaper and 3-point banker.

    Everyone knows that that is Hibbert’s game. Three point bank shots.

  22. That three is going to destroy Aldrich’s plus minus….

    I was literally just typing I hope Aldrich’s 2.1 seconds is productive when Hibbert banked in that 3.

  23. Just checked the scores at work. Did we just keep a team to 14 points for a quater? Also am I reading that play right? “Roy Hibbert makes 27 foot (Orlando Johnson assits)”. Da fuq?

  24. But hey, at least that first quarter was competitive. To be honest, I won’t be terribly upset if we lose this game, so long as we’re competitive and the Knicks don’t force the fans there to boo them out of the Garden.

  25. It is hilarious how much they are reliant on Bargs right now. He comes out of the game and things fall apart.

  26. It is hilarious how much they are reliant on Bargs right now.

    If you’d have told me Bargs would be arguable our best offensive player and probably 2nd most important player on the team 2 weeks in, I’d have said “then we’d be a pretty desperate team.” Either way, I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes.

  27. This first 15 minutes is for everyone who says it is impossible for the Knicks to have a strong defense with Bargnani on the floor. If Bargnani’s only job is to keep the opposing 5 in check, he can be part of a good defense.

  28. Off the jump ball, ‘Melo did a great job of ducking in for the post up opportunity in the center of the lane and Udrih was equally strong getting him the ball quickly.

    When they look at the video, that one should go into the playbook.

  29. The funny thing about Bargs is that he is the only NBA player I have ever seen who actually decelerates as he goes to the hoop. Remarkable how much momentum he loses the closer he gets to th hoop on these drives.

    Knicks looking good though, so is Bargs. Nice hustle on that o board….

  30. Four straight things I loved.

    Bargnani hustle to save the ball,
    JR Smith giving the ball up to ‘Melo,
    ‘Melo takes Hibbert off the dribble, and
    Bargnani stones Hibbert in the post.

  31. Melo just executed the vintage Bernard King 10′ turnaround baseline jumper. It feels like 1984.

  32. On Indy’s side of things, they should look at the good things that happen when they make the extra effort to get to the rim.

  33. I was catching up on reading threads earlier, and I know I don’t comment too often, but re: Melo’s leadership. I bet if Woodson just sat him down privately and said “Melo, leaders don’t pout after every bad non call and they get back on defense every play down the floor. You need to do this to be a leader.” I bet he’d be acting differently on the court. I just don’t think Woodson has any balls to control Melo our give him much direction because Melo runs the franchise behind Dolan. My 2¢.

  34. wasn’t lance Stephenson still available when Mr. Basketball Donnie Walsh drafted both Jerome Jordan and Andy Rautins??

    Yes. And during his time at St. John’s, he proved that he belonged nowhere near New York in 2010. Rautins was a horrible pick, but Stephenson would not have become Stephenson as a Knick.

  35. Indiana runs so little pnr that they’re actually a pretty good matchup for the Knicks. As long as the Knicks can keep them out of transition they should be able to keep it close.

  36. Rautins was a horrible pick

    But if we hadn’t have picked Rautins then we wouldn’t have had the “Andy & Landry Show”. That’s a world I don’t want to live in.

  37. Also, has Metta actually passed the ball yet tonight- I think he’s shot it every time he’s touched it.

  38. Indiana runs so little pnr that they’re actually a pretty good matchup for the Knicks. As long as the Knicks can keep them out of transition they should be able to keep it close.

    Great observation.

  39. As much as I appreciate ‘Melo’s effort tonight, the 1 on 4 heat check 3 pointer with 20 seconds on the clock is a bad idea.

  40. That was uncool. When Melo leads with his shoulder it’s an offensive foul. It should be the same when Indy does it.

  41. Hibbert literally falls into the lane and knocks over Bargs, and it’s a block? Unbeleivably bad call

  42. This is a beautifully ugly game. It is an ugly game, but I admire the Knicks for fighting the Pacers tooth and nail.

  43. Btw D-will stepped on Walkers foot and rolled his ankle. So that’s two starters Walker has knocked out this season

  44. That was one of he worst calls in NBA history. The rule is if Hibbert challenges ‘Melo, Melo gets called for the foul.

  45. Granted he’s back from missing games for whatever reasons, but MWP is a complete non factor…

    Wow, just wow….Hibbert jumped….

    JR .. Ugh

  46. Lance Stephenson and Andre Drummond are on my back alley team…

    Lance has also made 3 or 4 incredibly dumb decisions….

    Must want to impress in NYC

  47. Brian, I am holding you responsible for Melo’s second half after that jinx you laid on him…

    He will turn it around in the fourth!

  48. What’s worse. The charge call or the announcers agreeing with the call. It’s like they went to a reprogramming camp? lol

    Then when Lance stevenson does it, its ok.

  49. I missed almost the whole first quarter cause I had no idea it was a 7pm espn game, but aside from the wrinkle due to bargs fouls. Was this the rotation in the first 8 min? I dunno if I love it but I guess I can’t complain.

  50. Was that a beautifully ugly call?

    Unreal call. Just atrocious. Literally the second worst call I have ever seen after the first one by that ref….

  51. The Knicks need to find a way to get to 60 by the end of the 3rd quarter with Melo and Bargnani on the bench in foul trouble.

  52. That JR three reminded me of the old JVG days when a three pointer was relatively rare and a real back breaker.

  53. Lance Stephenson is a dick, if he were a Knick I’d be willing to bet he’d be more ridiculed than bad JR. He’s pretty much the only Pacer I simply cannot stand as both a player and a person. Talented though he may be, I am very glad he’s not a Knick. I imagine he’s the most frustrating player for Pacer fans.

  54. Also, like I said earlier; win or lose I’m just happy to see the Knicks legitimately competing like the professional athletes they’re paid to be.

  55. As the Nets circle the drain, just remember the draft picks they traded away to compile this team:

    2014 – First round pick to Boston (Atlanta has right to flip-flop picks)
    2015 – Boston can flip-flop first round picks with Brooklyn
    2016- First round pick to Boston
    2017 – Boston can flip-flop first round picks with Brooklyn
    2018 – First round pick to Boston

    The Nets have virtually no chance of improving through the draft until 2019.

  56. As the Nets circle the drain, just remember the draft picks they traded away to compile this team:

    2014 – First round pick to Boston (Atlanta has right to flip-flop picks)
    2015 – Boston can flip-flop first round picks with Brooklyn
    2016- First round pick to Boston
    2017 – Boston can flip-flop first round picks with Brooklyn
    2018 – First round pick to Boston

    The Nets have virtually no chance of improving through the draft until 2019.

    That’s insane. Had no idea it was that bad.

  57. On the point of the Nets; I find it very frustarting that the Knicks have taken so much heat for their bad start, with barely a whisper of how equally disppointing the Nets have been. I’m only really basing this on ESPN and NBA articles, but it seems wildly disproportionate. Haters gonna hate I guess.

  58. every announcer always seems shocked at how good Kenyon is. is it possible thathe is simply greatly undervalued around the league?

  59. Not to keep harping on the officiating, but aren’t these refs paid to know the difference between a clean strip and a foul? Twice tonight Melo and JR have gotten all ball on strips and have been called for fouls.

  60. Now, let’s see a rested Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani take over the game in the 4th quarter.

  61. We’re playing our best game of the season. Who gives a fuck about the media portrayal of the Nets?

  62. Isn’t addressing the differential coverage of the Knicks and the Bklyn Celtics punching down? Who cares? They’re the team from Jersey with hipster fans who will lose interest and go back to their artisinal air distilleries or whatever it is they’re wasting their parents money on…also…shouldn’t Cole get some run against Hibbert?

  63. Why are only 6 Knicks listed as bench players in the box score?
    Where’s Amar’e? I know he hasn’t played well this year, to say the least, but is something going on?
    A trade?

  64. Dare I say Cope big and quick enough to play one on one D on Melo every few possessions…. And. Bargs is def a pick and pop guy… Not a roll guy… His rolling is …. Suspect

  65. I’ve said it before, but I will say it again:

    There is nothing that JR Smith cannot do on a basketball court.

    If he harnesses his ability (which is a huge question) he can be an elite offensive player. I would have a simple rule for him – the only shots that you can take are: (1) catch and shoot 3pts, (2) drives to the rim and (3) under 7 seconds left on the shot clock.

  66. Why are only 6 Knicks listed as bench players in the box score?
    Where’s Amar’e?

    He’s still limited from playing in back-to-backs, and he played last night for 15 minutes.

  67. this has to be the first white (European) 2 pg lineup trotted out by an nba team in a while. how many teams in recent memory actually have 2 white pgs?

  68. need better offense than to try to post Melo. run some screens for him and Bargs. That 15 footer for Bargs has been there all game.

  69. this has to be the first white (European) 2 pg lineup trotted out by an nba team in a while. how many teams in recent memory actually have 2 white pgs?

    Who has 2 white point guards? We don’t.

  70. People are gonna be upset that bargs didn’t get that bound… But believe me, Hibbert is making it his sole Job to get O boards tonight… For the most part, when they do tangle up, bargs is giving it his all to box out…

    Now, if you see bargs not boxing Hibbert out, you didn’t see what I just wrote prior.

  71. While I can’t say definitively I disagree with the refs, shump needs to stop reaching. It’s gotta stop!

  72. God damn, if Smith had hit that the roof would have come down….

    Pacers being quite generous with these missed free throws…

  73. The Knicks have played hard tonight. I just hope that if they lose, they don’t get discouraged and move away from playing like this every night (or at least, most nights).

  74. I haven’t had this much fun watching a Knick game all year. I just hope we don’t have to endure 10 terrible games for every good one for the remainder of the year.

  75. That Jr defensive Gaf is what has been hurting the knicks all season. It happen last night when Kenyon Martin switched off his man to defend the Pnr but didn’t alert Bargs which lead to a layup

  76. Two wide open misses from three. Whew. Melo boards and hits FTs. Fingers crossed. That turned to shit. Lets get a good last shot and win

  77. That PROVES IT right there. Durant, Lebron, Harden, they all get that call. Melo? nah it’s going to OT

  78. Well, they played well but you can only play so well with a negative basketball IQ bunch of players.

  79. I can’t complain about this game…

    By far the best game of the season.

    But pretty devastating….

  80. JR smith rushes that J… This one is kaput…

    @ 187…. Def. missed some big shots but he mostly made Hibbert a non factor…. But, I get it…

    This one really friggen stings…. What are they gonna say In post game. It’s painful all around…

    And shumpert, ouch. Here’s a guy that, especially after tonight, needs a change of scenery…

  81. I’m not usually one to complain about getting hosed by the refs, but man. We got hosed by the refs.

  82. They play SO DUMB!!! JR’s quick three after Melo’s rebound reset the 24 second clock, Shumpert’s foul on George, leaving Hill open for countless 3’s , and numerous fouls giving the Pacers free throws when they couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives. Just an awful loss.

  83. The only person feeling worse than us is Ricky Rubio. Just got abused by Chris Paul for about 13 in your face crunch time points….

    I bit the bullet and bought league pass, only thing that can help me through the season…..

  84. If JR hits the wide open corner 3 or Bargnani hits a wide open top of the key 3, we’d be celebrating right now. Excruciating loss.

  85. I find it interesting that Woodson kinda sorta blamed Shump (“he’s a young player, made a young play, we didn’t need a foul there”), whereas yesterday when his superstar went off the rails and cost us a game he said “I went back and looked at the tape and Melo was right.”

    Accountability, Woodson style.

  86. The irony is that Shump actually played George really well all game- George really got going in the fourth when Shump went to the bench and he went off again early in overtime with Shump out.

  87. I normally think moral victories are only for shitty teams. However, without Chandler, the Knicks sort of are a shitty team, so I definitely think that this was a moral victory. They played a really good team really tough. They just didn’t do quite enough. It is funny how much better they look without Felton, though.

  88. I realize he didn’t shoot the ball well but it was nice to see Bargs work well with another big plus Melo. So many open Js that didn’t fall and I like the work he put in on Hibbert. I’m like the idea of Bargs on Hibbert and Chandler’s length taking away the elbow jumper from West. I also would take Chandle’s j over Kenyon.

Comments are closed.