Pacers must take advantage now that the Knicks have a key bench player out

The Indiana Pacers are the deeper team in their playoff series. That was even before a key bench player went down just before Game 2.
May 6, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) passes the ball
May 6, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) passes the ball / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers had a key advantage over the New York Knicks before the second round started. That was the fact that the Pacers had a deep bench and the Knicks do not. Indiana can sometimes play up to ten players in a game. The Knicks will sometimes only go seven deep.

In Game 1, that was the case. The Knicks played eight, but Precious Achiuwa only played a few minutes in the game. He is going to have to play more minutes now that the Knicks are going to be without their backup center who has been very good fro them.

Mitchell Robinson is now done for the series. He is out for 6-8 weeks with a stress injury to his ankle. So instead of having a backup center to bring in when Hartenstein gets tired, they will have to go with Achiuwa for the rest of this series with the Pacers.

The Pacers must run more to make the Knicks feel the lack of depth by getting out and running

One of the big things that the Pacers wanted to do in this series is getting out and running in transition. That won't change with this injury from Robinson. In fact, the Pacers will likely only ramp it up more because the Knicks' depth has gotten even worse.

Hartenstein also got in foul trouble in Game 1. Indiana will likely try to make that happen again in Game 2. That means that there should be more driving and more dumping to Myles Turner in the post. Turner carved up the Knicks in Game 1 and will probably do the same in Game 2.

Rick Carlisle is going to harp on this for the Pacers. They need to make the Knicks tired. Their starters have played heavy minutes all year long. It's time to make them feel some fatigue and take advantage of that. New York is likely down to just six core guys that they will play.


Tyrese Haliburton is listed as questionable with those back spasms. He doesn't look very healthy, but he still needs to be better. Hopefully, we see the best version of him in Game 2.