Indiana Pacers (4-6) at New York Knicks (6-1)
For the first time all season Sunday afternoon, the New York Knicks will play a game following a loss.
The Knicks were the last remaining undefeated team before falling to the Grizzlies, 105-95, in a scrappy, testy affair on Friday in Memphis. On Sunday, they will try to start another winning streak in Madison Square Garden against the Indiana Pacers.
“This one is over. We start another streak on Sunday,” said Carmelo Anthony. “I don’t really want to go overboard with this game and jump to any conclusions. This game is over. We’ll be prepared for Indiana on Sunday.”
The Knicks played in Memphis just one night after a great comeback victory on Thursday in San Antonio against the Spurs. The Grizz were rested after a win in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, but the Knicks showed some fight. Literally.
After an altercation between New York’s J.R. Smith and Memphis’ Jerryd Bayless, the Grizzlies went to the locker room with a five-point lead. Memphis came out of the break and pounded the ball down low to Marc Gasol and the Knicks picked up fouls and lost their composure.
Anthony, Smith, Rasheed Wallace, who posted back-to-back double-figure scoring nights, and head coach Mike Woodson all received technical fouls Friday. The Grizzlies won the third quarter, 31-18, held off a mini-rally from the Knicks and won.
New York failed to reach 100 points for the second time this season. They are third in the NBA in scoring and second in 3-point shooting percentage, but the Knicks shot only 26 percent from beyond the arc Friday.
Friday was a good day for the Pacers. They snapped a two-game losing streak with a 20-point home win over the Dallas Mavericks. The Pacers, who lost five out of six before the Dallas victory, held the Mavs to 37 percent shooting and 15 percent from 3-point range.
Indiana can certainly defend. They rank No. 1 in the NBA in opponents’ scoring and have surrendered 100 points just once the season, on Nov. 5 when the San Antonio Spurs amassed 101 points.
Offense has been the problem.
Without leading scorer Danny Granger for quite a while, the Pacers have struggled putting the ball in the hoop. Friday’s win marked the second time all season they cracked the century mark. They rank 28th in scoring, have only three players averaging double-figures, with leading scorer David West putting up just 15.0 ppg.
Head coach Frank Vogel reportedly cut down on set plays and the decision worked.
“We finally got clicking on the offensive end,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do on the offensive end, but it was a good team win.”
The Knicks, who are in the top five in scoring and defense, have won three of the last four meetings with the Pacers.