When: 3:30 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden
Starting Lineups (Subject To Change)
PG: George Hill
SG: Lance Stephenson
SF: Paul George
PF: David West
C: Roy Hibbert
Knicks (#2 Seed, 54-28)
PG: Raymond Felton
SG: Pablo Prigioni
SF: Iman Shumpert
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Tyson Chandler
Welcome to a trip down memory lane for the next two weeks or so.
My favorite all time Knicks team was the 1999 team that went from #8 seed to the NBA Finals. I was 11 years old at the time and when they took on the Pacers for the Eastern Conference Title, I was excited.
I was too young for the 94 and 95 series between the two teams and remember in 98 when the best Pacers team of that era dispatched the Knicks in five games.
The run in 99 was magical as they had beaten the Heat, whom like all of you, I hated with a passion and then beat up the Hawks in an easy sweep.
When the Knicks played the Pacers that year I remember so much about that series. The win in Game 1, Ewing getting hurt on the last shot of Game 2. The Four point play in Game 3, the comeback in Game 5 and Allan Houston's big game to clinch the Series in 6.
It was the most fun I ever had as a Knicks fan, before this season, and now that these two teams are going to battle again, it brings back all those memories of that run.
The players and the uniforms have changed a little and 13 years of ups and downs for both teams have softened the rivalry a lot. But, the fire wont take long to return and this can be another classic series like we saw from these teams six times between 1993-2000.
This series, as we get back to 2013, is going to be very similar to the one we just fought through against the Celtics. The biggest difference being that they are younger, bigger and have a point guard who is not a train wreck.
They are a slow down, half court team that prides itself on playing defense for 48 minutes or more every single game. They defend the three pointer better than anyone and will try to beat up the Knicks every time they drive the lane.
Of course they have a problem scoring the basketball, much like the Celtics. But, unlike the Celtics, they don't have a guy who is a threat to be a killer like Paul Pierce. Paul George is a better version of Jeff Green and we all saw the best and the worst of Green.
Reggie Miller is not walking through that door for the Pacers this time around. For them to win, they need someone on their team to have the killer instinct he had.
The Knicks played a team game for most of Game Six against Boston and looked great in building a 26 point lead before they nearly isolationed (Not a real word) themselves to death.
Isolation can work at times, but it is not how the Knicks are going to win games. When they move the ball and have a balanced offensive attack they look like the best team in the NBA. If they use those two things, they will win this game and series.
The Knicks are the better team and have the talent to beat the Pacers but it wont be easy. But that is the story of the Knicks season really, it is never easy.
The Knicks and Pacers in the playoffs just sounds perfect. It would be even better if the Knicks can harken back to the 1993, 1994 and 1999 seasons and knock them out again.
Enjoy the Game!
Five Questions About Tonight's Game
- How will the Pacers try to defend Melo?
- Can J.R. Smith get back on track?
- Will Iman Shumpert continue his strong play from the Celtics series?
- Can the Knicks handle the physical play of the Pacers?
- Will the three point shooting be able to be a weapon in this series?