The New York Knicks (17-19) welcomed Kristaps Porzingis back from injury and the Latvian didn’t disappoint in the team’s 116-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks weren’t the same team without him in the lineup and lacked serious depth in their frontcourt attack. Although the big man is still young, Kristaps proved that he is an integral part of this franchise.
New York managed to come from behind and used a strong 4th quarter surge to propel them to the win column. They ended up winning the 4th by 18 points (33-15). Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with a double-double of 26 points and 10 assists, and also added six rebounds to round out his solid night. Kristaps Porzingis added 24 points, six boards, and three rejections in his return. PG Derrick Rose contributed with 12 points and eight dimes; Courtney Lee had 11 points and three rebounds, while Joakim Noah ended the game with eight points and nine boards in 20 minutes, before exiting with six fouls.
The Indiana Pacers (19-18) are on a good run of four straight wins, and have also won eight of their last ten home games. After a slow start to the season, the Pacers everyone expected out of the gates have finally shown up. Their most recent win came against the Brooklyn Nets, 121-109 where only four Pacers finished in double digits. Despite that stat, the team still had three players score above 20 points, which was enough for a solid win. Paul George had 26 points, three assists, and three steals, while Myles Turner recorded a double-double of 25 points and 15 rebounds, along with a fantastic five blocks.
Jeff Teague also posted a double-double of 21 points and 15 dimes while adding seven boards. Thaddeus Young continued his strong start to the season by contributing 10 points, six rebounds, and two rejections against his former team. Rodney Stuckey is the only injured player on Indiana’s roster, and will not feature in this one.
Indiana is usually a graveyard for the Knicks, but Porzingis may have something to say about that after his promising return.
Keys to the Game
New York Knicks
Anthony, Porzingis, and Rose need to combine for 60 or more points. They managed to score 62 last night which proved to be vital for the win, so another similar performance here would bring the Knicks a step closer to ending their 11-game losing streak in Indiana.
The last time the Knicks won in Indiana was in 2012, and the team is highly motivated to end that streak. The aforementioned trio demolished the Pacers in their previous meeting two weeks ago when they combined for a phenomenal 80 points out of New York’s total of 118. Joakim Noah’s defense on Myles Turner will be important to control the boards.
Turner has been fantastic of late as he has averaged 21.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks in the last seven days and will be a major threat from the interior. The Frenchman has to use his defensive skills to limit Turner in the paint. Noah has to be careful though as he fouled out after 20 minutes last night and put his team on the back foot with their lack of depth inside.
Paul George’s excellent form needs to continue. George has been at the top of his game recently and has averaged 26.2 points per game over the last two weeks. The forward has scored 30 or more points in three out of the team’s last five games, so he could be in line for another 30 plus performance tonight in a matchup against Carmelo who is not a great defender.
Myles Turner’s domination below the rims will be a key factor too. Turner is in the best form of his life at the moment and his performances are helping the Pacers on both ends of the floor. He is dominant on offense and rock-solid on defense. In the team’s last game he recorded five blocks, which was his season-high.
New York Knicks Projected Starting Lineup
PG – Rose / SG – Lee / SF – Anthony / PF – Porzingis / C – Noah
Anthony, Porzingis, and Rose will lead the line, while Lance Thomas, Kyle O’Quinn, and Brandon Jennings could play a significant role off the bench. As stated, the Knicks will need their star trio to pull a lot of the weight in this one on both offense and defense.
Indiana Pacers Projected Starting Lineup
PG – Teague / SG – Robinson / SF – George / PF – Young / C – Turner
George and Turner should score plenty of points with Teague following them on the scoreboard. The team has gotten good support from Young, Miles, and Ellis, all season and I don’t see that changing tonight. The Pacers are a more athletic team and should use that to their advantage to push the pace against a New York squad which has failed to find their identity.
The Knicks could be a bit tired after last night’s nail-biting game, and history is against them in Indiana. The Pacers are also a stronger all-around basketball team, so I am backing the hosts to continue their win streak.
Tip-off is at 7 pm ET – Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, IN.
Your thoughts on this Knicks Pacers game? Leave some comments below!
Want to share your opinion? Why not write for us?