Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks will be desperate to end their recent run of futility in Indiana as they visit Paul George and the Pacers.
The New York Knicks just can’t catch a break. The Knicks (19-26) dropped yet another close game as they suffered a 107-105 loss against the Phoenix Suns. The Knicks have now lost four of their last five games and seven of their last nine. Their last three losses have come just six points. Carmelo Anthony came up with 31 big points, seven rebounds and six assists against the Suns, but he missed the potential game-winning shot at the buzzer. Derrick Rose added 26 points, while Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points as he made his first start back from a recurrence of his Achilles injury.
Anthony has been playing well of late, scoring 30 or more points in three of his last four games. However, those three games all came at home. He and the Knicks have struggled on the road. Melo has averaged just 19 points in his last four games, while the Knicks have gone just 2-9 in their last 11 games on the road. One of those wins came just last week, though, as Derrick Rose had 30 points and ten rebounds in a 117-106 win over the Boston Celtics.
Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers (22-21) are also in a two-game losing skid of their own after dropping their last two games to the Lakers and Jazz.
Thaddeus Young, Paul George, and Jeff Teague all had 19 points against Utah, but it wasn’t enough to top former teammate George Hill, who had 30 points to lead the Jazz. The Pacers have been hurt by too many turnovers and poor rebounding. They’ve averaged 18 miscues over the past two games, and have allowed 26 total offensive rebounds.
The Pacers committed 19 turnovers in their most recent meeting with the Knicks earlier this month, but they dominated the battle of the boards, 53-32, as they ran out 123-109 winners. George and Teague had 19 points apiece to lead six Pacers in double-digits. That win was the Pacers’ fifth in a row at home, and their 12th in a row at home against the Knicks.
Keys to the Game
New York Knicks
Porzingis is coming along slowly, averaging 14.5 points in just over 30 minutes in his two games since returning from his Achilles problem. But the Knicks need their young star to get his numbers back up to his season averages of 19 points and seven rebounds to get the much-needed win over the Pacers. He went for 21 points and eight rebounds in their win at Madison Square Garden earlier this season.
The Pacers must once again control the boards against the Knicks to get back to winning ways. Myles Turner must also be aggressive and take advantage of his mismatch against the Knicks’ immobile bigs, Joakim Noah and Kyle O'Quinn, especially along the perimeter. Turner is averaging 17 points, 9.5 rebounds, and two blocks in two meetings against the Knicks this season.
New York Knicks Projected Starting Lineup
PG – Derrick Rose | SG – Courtney Lee | SF – Carmelo Anthony | PF – Kristaps Porzingis | C – Joakim Noah.
Indiana Pacers Projected Starting Lineup
PG – Jeff Teague | SG – Glenn Robinson III | SF – Paul George | PF – Thaddeus Young | C – Myles Turner.
The Pacers extend their terrific home record against the Knicks as they edge out another closely-contested game.
Tip-off is at 8 pm ET on TNT - Bankers Life Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, IN.
By Brad Taningco
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