Friday, March 16, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Pre-Game News and Notes March 17th

Saturday March 17th 7:00 P.M. ET 
New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers 

The Knicks enter tonight’s 2nd game of a home-and-home series feeling much better about themselves than a week ago. Winning their last 2 games since the resignation of Mike D’Antoni, interim head coach Mike Woodson has led them to two blowout wins. They seem to have finally come together, competing and even dominating on both ends of the court. The Knicks seem to finally be buying into a system and are showing the urgency they were lacking under Mike D’Antoni. It is tough to beat the same team on back-to-back nights, but the Knicks look more than capable of pulling it off right now 

-Don’t Change a Thing 

The game plan the Knicks ran last night worked to perfection. They took the main contributors Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and David West out of the game early, never allowing them to get into rhythm. They were showing great effort on both ends of the court, and if they play like that again it should result in a victory. Bulletin board material from Danny Granger saying the games against the Knicks were winnable seemed to fire up the Knicks locker room. 

Showcasing superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire is something the Knicks need to continue doing. Anthony has come out strong to start the last two games, setting the tempo and pace of game in the Knicks favor. When the Knicks are clicking on offense, it makes them play better on the defensive end of the court. While Anthony and Stoudemire set the tone on the offensive end, Tyson Chandler sets the tone on defense. He took Hibbert and the rest of the Pacers out of their games last night, and doing the same tonight should lead to another Knicks victory. 

-Don’t Let the Crowd Get into It 

The Knicks and Pacers are bringing back their rivalry from the 90’s since both teams are starting to become relevant again. This is the makings for a rowdy crowd in Indiana, something the younger Knick players are going to have to get used to. Once it gets closer to playoff time, crowds are more into the games than ever. 

If the Knicks play their game, the crowd noise should have no effect. Taking the crowd out of the game will be key tonight. For this to happen, the Knicks need to come out with the same effort and energy as last night. If they open up an early lead, people will undoubtedly start heading for the exits early to watch their Indiana Hoosiers play in the NCAA tournament instead of the Pacers lose to the Knicks. 

-Injury Concerns 

The Knicks were finally starting to have their rotation come together with everyone getting healthy, but the injury bug has hit again. Baron Davis suffered a strained hamstring in the game Friday night and did not travel with the team. Davis says the injury should only keep him out for a few days, which is a positive because the Knicks need him desperately. 

This puts the pressure back on Jeremy Lin, who will again log big minutes with Davis out. Expect to see Mike Bibby backing up Lin with Davis being injured and Toney Douglas being away from the team. Iman Shumpert could also see some minutes at Point Guard in a pinch. 

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