Time to look into my crystal ball, and see what I see for this series. I see Paul George having a great game at Madison Square Garden reminding us of those days of yore with Reggie Miller in the Garden. George might not hit 8 points in 9 seconds, but a double double or close to triple double numbers like he has been getting would be awesome. But on the flip side, I can see Carmelo Anthony going for 40 points in a game, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s one of these first two games. He’s obviously looking for that ultimate win to get him back into the discussion of top 10 players, and carrying the Knicks in a game would do that. I also see the Pacers stealing one of the first two games in this series. They use the big men in Roy Hibbert and David West against the smaller line up of the Knicks. I can forecast a 20 point game from West in this series at some point. If he is making shots, he might be averaging that with the way he can just get that beast mode going. He puts his head down, and you know you’re going to get some points from him.
I can see George Hill coming up big with some late shot to seal the game for the Pacers or build up a late lead. Hill is so underrated when it comes to this team, but look at the close out game against Atlanta, and he was really the driving force. He might have to do that at some point in this series. Lance Stephenson might have a breakout game as well playing in the old New York City stomping grounds.
If the Pacers can get one of the games in Madison Square Garden, then I see them winning both games in Indy, and really having that advantage when it comes to putting away the Knicks. But they have to bring that defense that has been so good, and looked to FINALLY show back up in the last two games against Atlanta. If they can hold the Knicks to under 90 points like they did in the regular season, then there should be some good wins for the Pacers. Even if Melo goes off for 40, but the rest of the Knicks don’t score, then the Pacers have a good shot. But still that defense has to be strong everywhere. J.R. Smith of the Knicks won Sixth Man of the Year for a reason, so he has to be closely watched. Jason Kidd seems to hit some big threes when need be. Steve Novak is a three point threat. Those are guys to just stay in their face, and don’t let them have those easy shots.
The big men of the Pacers have to take advantage if the Knicks go small. Roy Hibbert has looked great ever since the All Star Break, and he needs to come through big when the Pacers give him the ball, and let him work. He needs to be explosive from the get go, and make the Knicks work down low on him. This series could be won if the Pacers truly take advantage of that. The Knicks can’t match up with Hibbert and West, so advantage Pacers.
This might bring back those memories of the old Pacers and Knicks, and that’s fine. Life is all about thinking about the past, and looking into the future. Right now, the future is 3:30 PM EST when the Pacers and Knicks tip off for what could be a fantastic game in the Garden.