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Game Preview: New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers, December 30, 2023

The Knicks seek to end their two-game skid when they visit Indiana to see Obi in his new uni.

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Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers (16-14) last played on Thursday, defeating the Chicago Bulls 120-104. Tyrese Haliburton recorded 21 points, 20 assists, and no turnovers. Reserve forward Obi Toppin added 12 rebounds.

The New York Knicks (17-14) played in Orlando last night and will likely be dragging tonight as they complete their sixth back-to-back of the season. The Magic won a wrestling match disguised as basketball 117-108, despite 38 points and 12 rebounds by Julius Randle.

Indiana scores the most points, plays at the second-fastest pace, and reigns supreme as the NBA’s most potent offensive force. They are the third-best from long-range, and are the sole team that consistently converts over 50 percent of their field goals. Weirdly, the Pacers are first in mid-range percentage, yet 22nd in mid-range field goals per game. (h/t The Athletic)

The Hoosiers are led by point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who has averaged 24.7 points, 12.4 assists, and four rebounds per contest. Myles Turner is their leading rebounder with 7.4 per game, and he adds 17.4 points and 2.2 blocks.

While the fleet-footed Pacers have cooled off lately, winning only four of their last ten, the Knicks have also stumbled on their recent 5-5 stretch. In the past two games, losses to the Thunder and Magic, floor general Jalen Brunson has seemed flat, New York turned the ball over 34 times, and they shot a total of 20-of-64 from downtown.

At least Julius Randle has been a consistent battery. He has scored 20 or more points in 16 consecutive games, a career best streak, and has logged 19 double-doubles this season. He even played seven or eight minutes of small-ball center last night.

Down the stretch, the line-up of Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, Josh Hart, RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle actually outscored the Magic 25-24 by my count. Unfortunately, they had dug too deep a hole earlier in the game. If the Pacers get a sizable lead early tonight, Thibs should try this smaller line-up again.

Projected Starters

Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Andrew Nembhard, Aaron Nesmith, Jalen Smith, Myles Turner

Knicks: Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, RJ Hampton, Julius Randle, Isaiah Hartenstein


New York’s two-game losing streak adds some intrigue to this matchup, as both squads jockey for position in the standings. The Knicks currently hold a slim half-game lead over the Pacers and are keenly aware of the tiebreaker implications of the season series.

In the first of three regular season meetings, the Knicks will struggle to keep up with a fast Pacers team, as they did on Wednesday against the Thunder. The difference is that the Thunder are a good defensive team, whereas the Pacers (HAHAHA) are not. In a run and gun affair, Jalen Brunson will bounce back from two muddy games to net five treys, and Immanuel Quickley will clear 20 points for the ninth time this season. Prediction: Knicks by 8, with about 300 total points scored. I’m winded just thinking about it.

Game Details

Who: New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers
When: 7:00 pm EST, Saturday, December 30, 2023
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Watch: MSG Network
Follow: @ptknicksblog