In a rare NBA matinée the Indiana Pacers will travel to New York to face the Knicks at Madison Square garden. The Knicks, coming off of their first lost off of the year, have been among the league’s best teams so far this year.
With a 6-1 record (a 3-0 mark at home) many have labeled the Knicks as true contenders. They have the best record in the Eastern Conference and ranked third in the NBA defensively giving up only 92 points per game. Carmelo Anthony has led the charge offensively averaging 23.3 points per game. Many have lauded Anthony for his improved defense and overall play, and he is among the league’s early MVP candidates.
The Knicks have also been a fantastic shooting team. They are hitting 41% of their three-pointers, good for second in the league. J.R Smith is tied for the lead league in three-point percentage hitting an astounding 63.6% of long range shots.
It’s been a tough start to the year for Indiana. Expected by many to compete for the East’s No. 2 seed, the Pacers have started 4-6 (including a 1-5 road mark). Danny Granger, their best player, is expected to miss several months with an injury and the team hasn’t yet made the necessary adjustments to play without him.
Paul George, the presumed heir apparent, hasn’t been up to the job. Roy Hibbert, fresh off of an excellent playoff series with Miami and a fat new contract, has failed to live up to expectations, and the team misses point guard Darren Collison (now a Maverick).
The Pacers simply aren’t scoring enough points. It’s hard to beat anyone scoring 89.3 points per game. What makes it worse is that the Pacers don’t have a go-to guy. Late in games they have to rely on team execution rather than on scorer getting them the plays they need. Until they find that go-to guy to replace Granger, it’s going to be a tough stretch for the Pacers.
Betting Preview: Knicks (-6.5) vs. Pacers
This is an easy one for me. The Knicks are one of the best teams in the league and, coming off of their first loss, should be hungry for a big win. The Pacers are 1-5 on the road, so expecting them to get a win against a contender like New York at Madison Square Garden is just too tall of an order. If the Knicks start hitting some three’s this game could get away from Indiana quickly. Take the Knicks here.
The Pick: Knicks (-6.5) (5dimes.eu)