Thursday, January 10, 2013
W2W4: Knicks at Pacers
By Ian Begley
The Knicks have shown the ability to bounce back from a loss. They are 8-2 following a defeat and have yet to lose three in a row.
That resolve will be tested Thursday when they face the red-hot Pacers without Carmelo Anthony, who is serving a one-game suspension for his confrontation with Kevin Garnett after Monday's loss to Boston.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:
WHO STEPS UP? The Knicks are 1-1 when both Anthony and Raymond Felton are out of the lineup. In late December, they beat the Suns and lost to the Kings on the road with both Felton and Anthony sidelined.
In those games, J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd played extremely well. Smith, in particular, put the Knicks on his back by averaging 27.5 points in those two contests. He also hit a game winner at the buzzer against Phoenix.
The Knicks will likely need similar production out of Smith to beat Indiana, which has won eight of 10. In his last five games, Smith is averaging 23.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals.
STINGY INDY D: While the Knicks' defense has been inconsistent of late -- they've lost six of 11 and have allowed 100 points in each loss -- Indiana's has been excellent.
The Pacers (21-14) allow 89.5 points per game and held Miami to a season low in an 87-77 home win Tuesday. They've limited four of their last five opponents to fewer than 90 points and have given up an average of 82.8 points per game during their current eight-game home win streak.
AMAR'E'S MINUTES: Team doctors have instructed coach Mike Woodson to limit Amar'e Stoudemire's minutes to 20-23. He experienced soreness in his surgically repaired left knee following Monday's game versus Boston, when he played a season-high 28 minutes against the Celtics.
Neither Stoudemire nor Woodson is calling the latest development a setback, but anything involving Stoudemire's knees raises a red flag because of the 30-year-old's history of knee issues.