Indiana Pacers: An early statement game against new-look New York Knicks

Indiana Pacers, Myles Turner, New York Knicks - Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Myles Turner, New York Knicks - Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

Fresh off an impressive victory against the San Antonio Spurs to snap their losing streak, the Indiana Pacers are slated to meet the New York Knicks for the first time this season to cap off their three-game homestand before setting out on a four-game road trip against the Western Conference.

Wednesday, Nov 3. 100. 7 PM ET. 5-2. 27. Bally Sports Indiana. 2-6.

One of their toughest games to date, the upstart Knicks have started their campaign in encouraging fashion after their surprising finish last season. With new additions in former All-Star Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier boosting their scoring profile, New York is now a more imposing and balanced two-way squad.

Unlike Indiana, which routed San Antonio in a high-scoring affair, New York is coming off an upset loss at the hands of the Raptors. With both of their losses so far coming against projected lottery teams, the Tom Thibodeau-led squad will be determined to turn things around and pounce against the Pacers, which are currently tied for 13th in the East.

The Indiana Pacers are in for a statement game against the upstart and new-look New York Knicks

While the bulk of the Knicks’ success last season is attributable to their defensive prowess, ranking fourth in defensive rating, New York has conversely been propelled by their much-improved offense in the early going, currently being fourth in offensive rating. This jump, up from 22nd a year ago, has managed to offset their 22nd-ranked defensive rating so far.

Julius Randle, last season’s breakout star and Most Improved Player, will headline the Knicks, averaging 21 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game. Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis will have to sustain or improve their impressive showing against San Antonio last Monday on both ends to score a statement win against one of the East’s better playoff teams and gain momentum to thwart their slow start.

Welcoming back Malcolm Brogdon from a three-game absence, in addition to Caris LeVert, who is still easing his way back to pre-injury form, should tremendously help and supply more than enough ammo to supercharge the Pacers’ offense. However, defense will be equally important, if not more, against Walker, Fournier, RJ Barrett and super sixth man Derrick Rose.

One area that the Pacers should monitor is three-point shooting. Similar to last season, the Knicks remain one of the best teams from behind the arc, swishing 40.8 percent of their triples as a team, which is the second best mark in the association. Their 16.6 makes per contest, however, easily tops the league.

For the Indiana Pacers to trump the sudden offensive juggernauts New York Knicks, being consistent on both ends of the floor will be crucial. Their one-sided approach to winning so far by outscoring their opponents will simply not cut it against one of the better—and more balanced—teams in the East.

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