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PBT NBA Playoff Preview: Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks

May 5, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Carmelo Anthony, David West

SEASON RECORDS

Indiana: 49-32, three seed in the East

New York: 54-28, two seed in the East.

PLAYOFF RECORDS

Indiana: Beat the Atlanta Hawks 4-2

New York: Beat the Boston Celtics 4-2

SEASON SERIES

The teams split the season series, each winning two games apiece.

KEY INJURIES

Amar’e Stoudemire has been out for the Knicks with a knee injury since the beginning of March, but the hope is that he’ll be able to return at some point during this series.

OFFENSE/DEFENSE RANKINGS (points per 100 possession) – PLAYOFFS ONLY

Indiana: Offense 100.1 (tied for 10th in the postseason), Defense 96.4 (4th in the postseason)

New York: Offense 96.9 (12th in the postseason), Defense 90.8 (2nd in the postseason)

THREE KEYS TO THE SERIES:

Knicks in isolation: New York’s offense was ranked third in the league during the regular season in points scored per 100 possessions, just below the teams that finished with the two best records in the league, the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Part of their struggles in the playoffs have been due to facing a Celtics team that will never stop working defensively, but a large portion of the pain has been self-inflicted.

Th Knicks offense was at its regular season best when the ball was moving until it found a shooter who had an open look. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith are both capable of making difficult, highly-contested long jump shots, but not with any masure of consistency, so why put them in that position more often than is necessary?

ESPN’s TrueHoop has the numbers, which say that New York in the regular season saw 15.5 percent of its offensive plays end in isolation sets. In the postseason, that number has jumped to 27.3 percent, while the field goal percentage in those situations has dipped by almost seven points.

Live by the three, die by the three: The Knicks led the league in three-pointers made per game during the regular season, but were almost three per game blow that average in their first round playoff series with the Celtics. The Pacers, meanwhile, were just middle of the pack in that department in the regular season, but are down in the playoffs, as well.

Pacers head coach Frank Vogel rightly believes that slowing the Knicks long-range attack will be one of the biggest keys for his team in this series.

”They’re the best 3-point shooting team in history. They made more 3s this year than any other team in NBA history. So we understand what they’re capable,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said, via Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press. ”We led the league in guarding the 3 this year. We have a great deal of confidence that we can guard them if we execute our defense the way we’re supposed to.”

Indiana’s offense: We know that the Pacers can give the Knicks the kind of fits thy had in stretches while trying to manufacture offense against the Celtics. What’s less clear is Indiana’s ability to score consistently throughout the series, and get buckets in critical situations down the stretch of tight games.

The Pacers threw up just 69 points in one of their losses to the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, and managed just 81 points in the series-clinching Game 6 victory. They might be able to get away with a low scoring output once against New York, but to win four times and advance, they’ll need to score consistently while playing their brand of hard-nosed defense at a high level throughout the series.

OUTLOOK

This isn’t a great matchup for the Knicks, considering that the level of defense the Pacers bring will be similar to that which they struggled with in the first round against the Celtics. The difference is that the Pacers are a younger and more athletic team that shouldn’t have nearly as much trouble as Boston did trying to score for long stretches, but in the end, I think home court advantage along with the presence of Carmelo Anthony will be too much for Indiana to overcome.

PREDICTION

Knicks in seven.

  1. eboneseagles - May 5, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    I think a huge aspect is the pacers offense, or lack there of. If the knicks play intense defense like they did against the celtics and quit the iso fest, they will win.

    • fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      Knickerbockers will beat Pacers, too bad.
      Prepare for a funeral in about 6 games.
      viewing begins today.

      • bfarr2013 - May 5, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        You gonna wear black for your knicks? West and hibbert will be too much.

  2. jlsiberia - May 5, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    The heat will sweep either team. The eastern conference is pathetic.

    • eboneseagles - May 5, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      What evidence is there for a sweep? Both teams have shown they can beat the heat in the regular season… The knicks and pacers are no the bucks buddy, whom the heat struggled with the first half or 3 quarters of every game. Struggle against the knicks or pacers for a half and you’re done. And thumbs me down heat “fans” but you’re all delusional if you think you’re sweeping everyone.

      • jimmymarlinsfan - May 5, 2013 at 8:58 AM

        And you are delusional if you think regular season games matter at all now that the real season has begun

      • Mr. Wright 212 - May 5, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        I love when Heat fans act like something out of the woodwork is going to change the fact that the match ups between the Heat and Knicks are what led to the Knicks leading (and winning three) all four games by 15 points or more against Miami this year. As if they have this extra gear that will enable them to cover every open spot on the floor with the efficiency of the Knicks’ offense SMH.

    • fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      the heat are in the eastern conf.

      • kavika6 - May 6, 2013 at 3:07 AM

        That’s exactly the reason why they had such a good record. The majority of their games were against the eastern conference cupcakes. They have a good chance to beat the best of the west in the finals but they won’t have to battle very hard to get there, and they’ll have home court advantage due to their pathetic regular season schedule.

  3. 13arod - May 5, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    do you know what you are talking about eboneseagles the knicks only beat miami once this season

    • eboneseagles - May 5, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      Good one bro

      • fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        bad one bro,13arod is wrong he must be on drugs.

      • fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        bad one bro,13arod is wrong he must be on drugs.

      • fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        jimmythemarlin fan is delusional.

    • fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      delusional is admitting you are a marlin fan.

  4. jamnastyjay - May 5, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    do you know what you are talking about AROD??? THE KNICKS WENT 3-1 against the heat this year…. look it up you idiot!

    • Kurt Helin - May 5, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      Just a word of caution: Regular season success does not always translate to postseason success. Very different worlds.

  5. jams56 - May 5, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Do you know what you’re talking about 13arod the Knicks were 3-1 against the Heat two of which were blow out wins. But that means nothing now because its the playoffs now.

    • eboneseagles - May 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      I think he’s going for very deep sarcasm by saying that’s what the idiot Miami fans who don’t watch the heat and assume they win every game would say. Or he’s just an idiot.

  6. bifford - May 5, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Should have just called this article, “I love the Knicks! This how they can win!!!”

    • fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      yeah, Pissers suck.

  7. fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Flip Saunders picked Pissers to win series, what did Flip ever win?
    He wasted KG’S youth.

  8. brutl - May 5, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    your “e” key is not working

  9. Mr. Wright 212 - May 5, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Paul George had FOUR POINTS in a close out game.

    Enough said.

    • eboneseagles - May 5, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      Yeah lol he disappears half the time, it’s also worth noting he’d be the 3rd scoring option on the knicks. Maybe 4th if Amare is decent.

    • stlouis1baseball - May 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      Bwahahaha! This is laughable. You are going to find out real quick who Paul George is.
      Funny…funny stuff.

  10. 00maltliquor - May 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I am SUUUUUUUUPERRRR excited for this old school series! Knicks and Pacers! This is the way it should be!

  11. cj1403 - May 5, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Doubt the Heat anybody else these playoffs. @Mr. Wright the Knicks offense was efficient in the regular season but so far in the payoffs it’s been isos by the bunches. That may have been enough for the Celtics but it won’t against Pacers nor the Heat. The only game the one against the Heat in the playoffs last year was because they moved the ball.

  12. cj1403 - May 5, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    *sweep

  13. tycobbfromfangraphs - May 5, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Pacers in 5

  14. goodfellas17 - May 5, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Knicks have not won any championships in the past 40 years. When Knicks won their last championship title many teams today in the NBA didn’t even exist. Knicks think too highly of themselves.

  15. cj1403 - May 5, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    @Goodfellas17 They won there first playoff game in a decade last year.

  16. goodfellas17 - May 5, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Pacers won on the road. Knicks are overrated for sure

  17. goodfellas17 - May 5, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    FYI ABC … I turned off the volume of bias Jeff Van. I prefer guys that can represent the game in a neutral professional manner for both fans.

  18. chicagofan - May 5, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Break out your Black–Pacers 4-0– 6’10 Paul George will contain Melo and 7’2 Hibbert and the athleticism of Indiana’s D is going to be too much for this loud mouth crew. Maybe one game for NY but I doubt it.

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