Pre-Game: Knicks at Pacers- 2/20/13

Bruce Bennett

The Knicks play the Pacers tonight at 7.

Hey guys! At long last, we get to disrupt the steady leak of trade rumors with some actual basketball. The Knicks begin their comparatively grueling post-All-Star-break stretch tonight in Indiana, where they'll face the Pacers, their neighbors in the Eastern Conference standings. It's the third game in what may eventually be a fate-deciding four-game season series. It's been slow and sloppy so far. The Knicks took an ugly, low-scoring win against the mediocre and weirdly sluggish Pacers of November, then lost another ugly, low-scoring game without Carmelo Anthony against the vastly improved Pacers of January.

We should expect another slow, ugly game tonight. The lockdown Pacers and gunnin' Knicks have little in common style-wise, but both prefer a low-possession game, and their respective virtues have canceled out to produce some miserable shooting performances thus far. We can look forward to something vaguely resembling a hockey game, with lots of physical play and every score being cause for massive celebration with lights and sirens and stuff.

Now that I've thoroughly jinxed tonight's game into having a 194-193 final score, a few updates:

- Danny Granger is nearly ready to debut for Indiana, but won't do so tonight, which is nice.

- David West missed a game last week with an eye injury, but he's ready to return and will surely match up with Carmelo Anthony some. Paul George will get the lion's share of that assignment, though.

- Nothing new injury-wise for the Knicks. As was mentioned yesterday, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby aren't even close to available yet despite participating in limited practice. Melo's All-Star performance suggests whatever was wrong with his right arm is now fine and he will now resume hitting shots (please).

- No lineup changes either, per reporter Kurt Thomas.

- This is a nice li'l conversation with Iman Shumpert explaining (very generally) what the Knicks worked on in their first practice back. One thing the Knicks did with Shump specifically was cut some tape of his best performances from last season to watch over the break. I like that strategy. Watching tape of one's failures is educational, but studying correct execution in actual game situations seems valuable as well, not to mention encouraging.

Tip-off tonight is at 7. A game thread will be up between now and then. Have a lovely rest of your day.

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