Pacers enter matchup against Knicks with four-game win streak (Jan 07, 2017)
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers will host the New York Knicks in an Eastern Conference showdown on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers (19-18) have won four straight games, which is their longest winning streak of the season.
The teams matched up in New York last month and the Knicks put together a come-from-behind win, 118-111 behind Carmelo Anthony’s 35 points.
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Indiana led by as many as 15 points in that game, but New York put together a huge run in the fourth quarter. The Pacers, however, have been much better on their home floor this season (14-5), presenting the Knicks with a big challenge.
Paul George has been on fire lately, averaging 28.6 points in his last five games. The Pacers are 10-2 this season when George scores 25 or more points.
The Pacers have averaged 117.5 points per game during their four-game win streak, including 121 points in their previous win over the Nets.
George credits better ball movement for the recent hot stretch. “Before, it was guys doing everything on their own,” George told The Indianapolis Star. “Now, it’s more organized. We move the ball and we know who has a good look and there’s not selfishness in the shot selection.”
Point guard Jeff Teague has also been on fire of late, averaging 16.7 points and 10.7 assists per game in January. He averaged 16 points and 8.9 assists in December.
“Coach pulled me aside a couple weeks ago and told me he wants me to move the ball and he wants me to try to get in the lane and kick out,” Teague said. “I think it just became contagious. We’re all just trying to get it to the open man and get our teammates open shots.”
The Knicks (17-19) just snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 116-111 on Friday night.
Kristaps Porzingis returned after missing the previous three games and scored 24 points. The Knicks trailed by 13 points heading into the fourth quarter and came back to win.
Playing on a back-to-back after a comeback win won’t be an easy task, but the Knicks are just glad to be back in the win column again.
“This club’s going through adversity right now,” Knicks center Joakim Noah said. “There’s no question about it. Losing sucks. We’ve just got to bounce back.”
“Making strides, that’s all you can ask,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “If we continue to do that, we’re going to win games.”
Both teams are averaging 105 points per game this season, but the Knicks have given up more to their opponents.
They’ve given up 100 or more points in seven consecutive games.
The Pacers have defeated the Knicks in eight straight games when playing in Indianapolis. New York is just 6-12 on the road so far this season.
Rodney Stuckey (hamstring) is still out for the Pacers. The Knicks expect to be fully healthy.