There's a scout responsible for keeping tabs on Eastern Conference teams. He's seen plenty of both the Knicks and Pacers, so we asked him to give us his take on the series. Here's what he told us:
THE SITUATION: Which style wins out? The Knicks' high-powered offense or the defensive-minded Pacers? The Knicks had the third-best offense in the NBA in the regular season and Indiana had the top-ranked defense.
SCOUT SAYS: "The Pacers are not trying to outscore you like the Knicks do. They're going to try to grind it out. They are extremely physical, they use their length and their fouls and they're bodies, whereas the Knicks are more of a finess and a perimeter team. [How does Indy] defend the 3-point shot? You can't let [Steve] Novak, J.R. Smith, [Pablo] Prigioni, Jason Kidd, get in a rhythm and knock down threes. ... I also think Raymond Felton, especially on his pick and rolls, was really good [against Boston]. ... How do they do against that?"
THE SITUATION: How do the Pacers defending the league's best scorer, Carmelo Anthony? Do they send a double-team his way and dare the other Knicks to beat him? Do they single cover him with David West? What about Paul George?
SCOUT SAYS: "You want to make Carmelo a volume shooter like he was these last two games, you want him to get his 30 points on 30 shots. You can let him get to the foul line 10 times and obviously you don't want him to have an efficient night. How do they defend him? Are they coming with double teams? Are they going to live with him and try to take away all the three-point shooters? This is key."
THE SITUATION: Carmelo has to play defense to. Can the Pacers exploit that matchup on the other end? Will Carmelo match up against Paul George? Unlikely. That's the Pacers top offensive threat. What about David West?
SCOUT SAYS: "If Carmelo plays the 4 and he's guarding David West, [West] is a combination -- he can do a pick and pop and he's a post player. So how Melo defends him, if that's how they match up, will be interesting. Because I think West will have a big advantage down on the block. Do they start with (West) on the block or do they put him in pick and rolls and see what happens there? Are [the Knicks] going to switch? What's going to happen?
PREDICTION: Knicks in 6 or 7
SCOUT SAYS: "My initial instinct tells me the Knicks. I loved Indiana preseason but something was missing from them throughout the year. I think the Knicks should win. It's going to be a great series. It will go six, possibly seven. I think the Knicks are the better team. But if they go through spurts like they did against the Celtics, that fourth quarter [in Game 6], Indiana is very similar, they're not an offensive juggernaut [but it could hurt the Knicks]. I just think the Knicks have too much offense though. They have too much talent and too much offense. I think they win."
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