After dropping two straight games, the Pacers (15-16) will look get back in the win column on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden when they face off against the Knicks (16-17) on the second night of a back-to-back.
Indiana fell on Friday night in Boston, dropping a 118-112 decision to the Celtics. The Blue & Gold did plenty of good things in the game, including racing out to an 18-4 lead and holding Boston’s All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to a combined 24 points on 9-of-30 shooting. But Kemba Walker scored a season-high 32 points and — just like in Wednesday’s loss to the Warriors — the Pacers failed to make one or two more plays down the stretch while dropping a close decision.
The loss dropped Indiana below .500 for the second time this season. The Pacers also fell from fourth to eighth in the crowded Eastern Conference standings, where just one game currently separates seven teams from fourth to 10th.
The Knicks have been one of the surprise teams of the season and currently are in sixth place in the dogfight in the East. New coach Tom Thibodeau has the team playing his trademark stout defense. New York is third in the NBA in defensive efficiency, limiting opponents to just 107.9 points per 100 possessions.
Offensively, the Knicks are powered by 6-8 forward Julius Randle. Randle is enjoying a breakout season in his seventh year out of Kentucky, recently earning his first All-Star selection. He is averaging 23.2 points, 11 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game — all career highs — while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from 3-point range.
Pacers: PG – Malcolm Brogdon, SG – Justin Holiday, SF – Doug McDermott, PF – Domantas Sabonis, C – Myles Turner
Knicks: PG – Derrick Rose, SG – RJ Barrett, SF – Reggie Bullock, PF – Julius Randle, C – Nerlens Noel
Pacers: Brian Bowen II – out (G League two-way contract), Jalen Lecque – out (G League assignment), Caris LeVert – out (medical condition), JaKarr Sampson – out (health and safety protocols), Cassius Stanley – out (G League two-way contract), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
Knicks: Elfrid Payton – doubtful (sore right hamstring), Ignas Brazdeikis – out (G League assignment), Jared Harper – out (G League two-way contract), Mitchell Robinson – out (right hand surgery)
Jan. 2, 2021: The Pacers came away with a 106-102 win over the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“They made the shots when they needed to,” coach Nate Bjorkgren said after the game. “We didn’t. The ball just didn’t bounce our way tonight.”
The loss spoiled a brilliant performance from Malcolm Brogdon, who scored 33 points while going 7-for-10 from 3-point range and dished out seven assists. Myles Turner added 17 points, Victor Oladipo scored 16, and Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and 13 rebounds for Indiana.
RJ Barrett led New York with 25 points, going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Eflrid Payton added 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists while Mitchell Robinson added 16 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks.
- The Pacers have won their last four games at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks haven’t beat Indiana at home since Nov. 5, 2017.
- Indiana is 4-1 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
- Doug McDermott played in 55 games for the Knicks during the 2017-18 season.
- Myles Turner needs one block to become the first player in the NBA to swat 100 shots this season.
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)