The New York Knicks (17-19) welcomed Kristaps Porzingis back from an injury, and the Latvian was a major contributor in a 116-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks weren’t the same team without him in the lineup and although a very young player, Kristaps proved that he is an integral part of this franchise. New York managed to come back from behind, and they won the final quarter by 18 points (33-15), which secured them a win. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with a double-double of 26 points and ten assists, and he also had six rebounds, while Kristaps Porzingis added 24 points, six boards, and three rejections. 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 left with six fouls. Jeff Hornacek is delighted to have Porzingis back after a three-game absence and is glad that all of his players are ready for tonight’s tilt.
The Indiana Pacers (19-18) are in a good run of four straight wins, and they also won eight of last ten home games, most recently against the Brooklyn Nets, 121-109. Only four Pacers finished in double digits, but three of them scored 20-plus 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, and he added seven boards as well, while Thaddeus Young contributed with ten 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.
KEYS TO THE GAME
New York Knicks
• Anthony, Porzingis, and Rose to combine for 60-plus points. They managed to score 62 last night, and that proved to be vital for the win, so another similar performance here would bring the Knicks a step closer to ending the 11-game losing streak at Indiana finally. The last time they won was in 2012, and they’re highly motivated to end that poor run. The trio demolished the Pacers in their previous meeting some two weeks ago when they combined for a phenomenal 80 points, out of New York’s 118 in total.
• Joakim Noah’s defence on Myles Turner. Turner has been fantastic lately; 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, so the Frenchman has to use his defensive skills to limit Turner in the paint. Noah has to be careful though, because last night he committed six early fouls and left the game after only 20 minutes played.
• Paul George’s excellent form. George was at the top of his game recently; he has averaged 26.2 points per game in the last two weeks, and he scored 30-plus points in three out of previous five matches, so he could be in the line to record another 30-plus performance tonight in a matchup against Carmelo, who is not a great defender.
• Myles Turner’s domination below the rims. Turner is playing the best game of his life at the moment; his performances are helping the Pacers on the both ends of the floor; he is dominant in offence and rock-solid in defence. Only in the 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.
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, but Young, Miles, and Ellis, among others, should provide a solid support in the second unit.
The Knicks could be a bit tired after last night’s nail-biting game, and the tradition is against them in Indiana, so I am backing the hosts to continue their positive run.
Tip-off is at 7 pm ET – Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, IN.
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