Ranking the Pacers possible playoff opponents from most to least intimidating

With the Pacers set to participate in at least the Play-In tournament soon, let's take a look at who they may face in the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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2. New York Knicks

One thing needs to be said first. The gap between the most intimidating and the second-most intimidating is quite large. In this case, we're going from certain doom vs. Boston to a hard-fought series but most likely a loss vs New York.

At first glance, the Pacers seem to have New York's number this season, going 2-1 in the season series with both wins being double-digit. However, upon closer inspection, this quickly starts to make more sense. In every single Pacers/Knicks matchup this season, the Knicks came in carrying some injuries.

The closest the Pacers came to a healthy Knicks roster this season was in their December 30 matchup immediately following the OG Anunoby trade. As a result of the proximity of the trade, RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickely were already on their way out of New York and OG Anunoby had not reported to the team yet, resulting in New York being rather shorthanded and losing 126-140.

The Pacers and Knicks faced off once again on February 1. This time, the Knicks were missing Anunoby, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson. However, they still came away with the comeback 105-109 win behind 30 points from Jalen Brunson in one of the most devastating losses of the season for Indiana.

Indiana had an opportunity for revenge nine days later and easily beat the Knicks again with a final score of 125-111. Once again, however, this win came with an asterisk as New York was so debilitated from injury at this point in the season to the point where they started Taj Gibson and only played three players off the bench. All in all, while the Pacers looked dominant in the season series against New York from a distance, the actual games show that the Knicks may have an advantage for a possible playoff series.

This is even more likely once you look at the stats, with the Knicks being one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Knicks currently hold the eighth-best defensive rating in the NBA at 112, allow the second-fewest opponent points per game at 107.8, have the second-most second-chance points in the league at 16.3 per game, and allow the third-fewest opponent second-chance points at only 12.1 per game.

This is not to say that the Pacers would be completely outmatched in a playoff series against the Knicks, but it would certainly not be easy. At the very least, the series is going six games with the Knicks having a slight advantage on the defensive end, as well as with the offensive ability of Jalen Brunson, who just two days ago, scored 61 points in San Antonio.