Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Starting Lineups (Subject To Change)
PG: George Hill
SG: Lance Stephenson
PF: David West
C: Roy Hibbert
PG: Raymond Felton
SG: Jason Kidd
SF: Iman Shumpert
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Tyson Chandler
The All-Star break is over, the Trade Deadline is tomorrow and the Playoff Push for the Knicks begins tonight. After not playing for a week, the Knicks are on the road in Indianapolis to take on the Pacers.
The Knicks, losers of three of their past four games before the break are on pace for their first 50 win season in over a decade and first division title since 1994.
Although things have been mediocre for them the past 27 games (14-13 in that stretch), I'm pretty sure what we saw over the past ten years before this one was a lot worse. Yes, that is me taking the "Glass half full" approach.
Now of course, the ball movement that we saw in the first part of the season has been missing for the most part and the defense has been ok at best. For the Knicks to be where they hope come May and June, those two things must improve.
For the Pacers, their success without Danny Granger has been a surprise and the emergence of Paul George as an All-Star has been the driving force behind it all. Of course, their defense, one of the best in the NBA doesn't hurt either.
These two teams have played each other twice with each team winning on their home floor. The last time of course, Carmelo was suspended for the game in Indiana after the Garnett incident and the Knicks struggled on offense all game.
This is an important game for many reasons for the Knicks. To get a road win against a potential second round opponent and division leader would be a great way to start the second half. Also, playing well on the road and playing well against teams above .500 will be key in the second half of the season since the schedule will be full of both the rest of the way.
It's great to have the Knicks back and getting ready to make a push towards the playoffs and maybe their first division title in 19 years.
It wont be easy to say the least, but getting off on the right foot tonight would be a great start.
Five Questions About Tonight's Game
- How will the Knicks look after not playing for a week?
- Will the ball movement on offense return to it's early season glory?
- How will Shumpert play with the trade deadline tomorrow?
- What will Indiana do defensively to try keep the Knicks in check?
- Can the Knicks bench break out of its Pre All-Star break slump?