The Knicks will host the Danny Granger-less Indiana Pacers at the Garden on Sunday afternoon, their second Sunday afternoon game already this season (hopefully JR isn’t partying to hard tonight. Wait that was last year, right?). Anyway, I’m glad the Knicks play an afternoon game tomorrow. The Giants are on a bye and therefore I can give the Knicks my undivided attention instead of being subjected to watching the Jets play the Rams. The Knicks are coming off their first loss of the season to a much more physical Grizzlies team on Friday night, dropping them to 6-1. They were going up against the league’s leading rebounder in Zach Randolph, but the most alarming part of the loss was getting beat up on the glass for the seventh time this season. For all the things the Knicks have done very well this year, rebounding is certainly not one of them and something they need to address going forward.
After getting the loss out of the way, the Knicks will look to bounce back against a 4-6 Pacers team that they without a doubt should beat. They are one of the worst offensive teams in the league as they average only 89.3 points per game, and have the second worst offense efficiency rating of 92.2 (not very good). They also turn the ball over a lot, possessing a turnover rate of 15.65, the fourth highest in the league. They are coming off of a 103-83 blowout win against the Mavericks where they were able to find some offense. However, if the Knicks can continue their outstanding defense on the lowly Pacer offense, they should be able to take care of business on their home court. Here are a few key matchups to watch in this game:
David West vs. Carmelo Anthony: If the Knicks continue to go with their small lineup with Carmelo playing the four (which they probably will and should), they are going to need to help Anthony on the block against West. West is the Pacers leading scorer and rebounder, and can be a real menace on the offensive glass. Anthony needs to make sure he boxes out West and limits the Pacer’s second chance opportunities.
Can Rasheed Wallace continue his solid play?: Through the first seven games of the season you can’t be any happier with what you have seen from Sheed. He is averaging 7 and 3 to go along with a block per game. With Tyson Chandler being banged up and sick plus Amare’s injury/Camby working his way back, the Knicks needed someone to defend and play in the post. Wallace has done a great job of that (it’s hard for me to believe even as I type it) and will be needed down low as the Pacers have two very formidable bigs in David West and Roy Hibbert.
New York Indiana
PG-Raymond Felton PG-George Hill
SG-Jason Kidd SG-Lance Stephenson
SF-Ronnie Brewer SF-Paul George
PF-Carmelo Anthony PF-David West
C-Tyson Chandler C-Roy Hibbert
Prediction: Knicks 105, Pacers 91
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