By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
Pre-Game News and Notes
The Knicks will look to get back into the win column Thursday night against the Indiana Pacers after a lackluster performance Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Knicks will have their hands full against the top seeded team in the Eastern Conference, as the Pacers currently hold a 30-7 record. The Knicks looked tired against the Bobcats and cannot afford to come out with the same energy against the Pacers or they will be blown out of the gym. The Knicks usually get up for games against top teams, evident by the start to 2014 they have had. Here are some things to keep an eye on during the game.
-Player News and Notes
Tyson Chandler was limited to only 16 minutes in Tuesday night’s loss in his first game back from an upper respiratory infection. He will have to give the Knicks more tonight against a very talented and deep front line the Pacers deploy. Pablo Prigioni still is in street clothes and his return is unknown. The Pacers have no reported injuries and will have their full compliment of players tonight.
-What’s Up with J.R.?
|Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images|
Will Smith have a chance to help the Knicks out tonight? Smith was benched for the second time in four games Tuesday against the Bobcats after a verbal altercation with Mike Woodson about his playing time and being late for a team meeting. Smith had played better in the two games after his first benching, so it was peculiar timing for another benching, especially because it was on the second night of a back-to-back and the first game went into overtime.
Will Smith see the court tonight? It is one of the things to keep an eye on as his situation has dwarfed the talk in
York over the importance of a big game against the
Pacers. After talking to Woodson tonight the indication is that Smith will play
and the Knicks will need him. The Pacers have an outstanding sixth man in
former leading scorer Danny Granger. It would be nice to see Smith go against him
and out perform him tonight.
-Front Line Battles
Last season the Knicks struggled to contain the Pacers in the paint; Roy Hibbert was able to control the paint because
was no threat on the offensive end. This season it could be different with Chandler
showing confidence in his jump shot and the Knicks now having Andrea Bargnani.
This is the exact game that Bargnani was brought into
York for. He can cause problems as one of either
Hibbert or David West will be dragged away from the basket or Bargnani will be
having target practice from the perimeter. Bargnani will be a big x-factor in
the game tonight; if he is on offensively he can single handedly swing momentum
to the Knicks side.
Match up of the Game: Iman Shumpert vs. Lance Stephenson
All eyes will be on the Carmelo Anthony and Paul George; they are the two biggest stars on their respective teams but you also know what you are going to get from each of them. The match up of Shumpert vs. Stephenson could be the deciding factor in who pulls out the victory.
We have seen in 2014 that when Shumpert plays well the Knicks win. The same could be said for Stephenson and the Pacers; when he is playing well they are tough to stop. They will most likely be matched up throughout the game and it will be a fun match up. Both are very spirited players that play with a lot of emotion and energy. Stephenson has three triple-doubles this season already and has given the Knicks problem in the past but Shumpert is not playing his best basketball of the season.