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Game Preview: Knicks at Pacers, 2/1/2020

Let’s burn down the cornfield, but first let’s lay down in it and tie our hands to our ankles, behind our backs.

Bolstered by the return of Victor Oladipo, the already glowing Indiana Pacers (31-17) are now pulsing with a much more intimidating radiance. The Knicks (13-36) travel to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse where they’ll probably just munch up some Steak and Shake while they absorb some abuse and wait for their asses to be handed back over to them. This is only Oladipo’s second game. In the first one, he shot poorly (1-7 from downtown), but maybe it was a bit of jitters and some timely hooping certainly prevailed.

Indiana went on the win in overtime. These guys are the actual guys who David Fizdale proclaimed the Knicks to be at the beginning of the season. They never let go of your leg once they’ve clamped down. They’ll just keep squeezing you. A dominant home team (18-5), they’ve also won eight of their last ten. The Knicks are basically the inverse no matter what the situation. They never learned to protect home court (7-18) and the road record is roughly the same (6-18).

Projected Starters

Elfrid Payton got suspended for shoving Jae Crowder into the front row of the last game. So at least we’re spared that eye sore. Still don’t expect much of a lineup change from the Knicks, even though they’ve lost 83% of their games. Heaven forbid they try something different. We’ll probably see some more point-Julius Randle and maybe Kadeem Allen will get a blow.

It’s possible that Frank Ntilikina will show up after apparently hurting his groin again. I’m just going to be much smarter than everyone and assume this stupendously stupid front office is holding him out because he is about to be traded. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if RJ Barrett plays again before we see Frank take the court in a Knick uniform. Speaking of Barrett, his ankle is still all fucked up but it’s possible he’ll be ready to play an exhibition in two weeks. sǝıʇıɹoıɹd.

Keys & Matchups

Well who wants to guard Malcolm Brogdon? No one? Which one of you ditch diggers is gonna put him on the line 20 times? Oh and Julius, that brute nonsense isn’t going to work against All Star forward, Domantas Sabonis. In fact, it’s coming right back to your own dumb chest. You know what makes Domas so good? It’s the little things. He cracks dudes with screens so his guards can turn the corner down the lane. He fights for position and boxes out. He’s a willing passer that doesn’t drive straight at four defenders with all eight of their arms swallowing him whole. He doesn’t hold the ball below his waist, he keeps it high and finishes without bringing it down. How are these the things Randle hasn’t learned yet? So. Yea guard him, because he’s gonna guard you. I can’t wait to watch Bobby Portis whip around to see who stole his rebound only to let Sabonis calmly clap boards and get back on defense. Of course, there’s also my best friend Victor at the Oladipo. Can we just call the game? It’s gonna be a bloodbath.

Knicks by -34. I could see Knicks by -16 if Frank plays. It’s more likely to be Knicks by -10 trillion because these morons are just gonna trade him like they so desperately want to because they are so hopelessly lost. They want to make a win-now move that won’t even produce wins. Serenity now!

Warm Up Music

These teams used to have an awesome, bitter rivalry. Now the Knicks have been bad for twenty years and the Pacers always have something brewing. That was then.