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Winning the Pace Battle: How the Pacers Can Upset the Knicks in the Second Round

Pace is the key for the Indiana Pacers if they hope to upset the New York Knicks in the second round of the playoffs, according to scouts. The Pacers led the league in scoring and were second in pace during the regular season, making their fast style of play their biggest advantage. One Eastern Conference scout emphasized that the Pacers need to play fast and aim for a scoring range of 110 to 118 points. Another scout echoed this sentiment, highlighting that playing fast is the Pacers’ whole strategy.

On the other hand, scouts believe that the Knicks will control the series if they can slow down the pace of the game. They emphasize that if Indiana is forced to take the ball out of the basket and walk it up, it plays into the Knicks’ advantage. The key for New York is to continue playing good team basketball and scoring consistently while preventing the Pacers from getting into their preferred fast-paced rhythm.

While the Pacers were successful in scoring over 100 points in every game except one during the regular season, the playoffs present a different challenge. In their six-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks, they were held to 94 and 92 points in the two games they lost. This highlights the impact of playoff intensity and defensive prowess. The Knicks, known for their defensive dominance, pose a significant challenge for the Pacers.

The Pacers’ reliance on Tyrese Haliburton as their primary playmaker adds another layer of complexity to the series. Michael VandeGarde, an ex-76ers scout, points out that guarding Haliburton, a big and long point guard, will be a problem for the Knicks. However, VandeGarde also mentions that the Knicks excel at controlling the pace of the game and are unlikely to want to play in high-scoring ranges. The defensive-minded approach of Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau and point guard Jalen Brunson supports this observation.

Refereeing decisions may play a crucial role in the series, with VandeGarde suggesting that the officials allowed a physical style of play that favored the Knicks in the previous series. If the referees continue to allow the Knicks to play their gritty, foul-prone style, it could present a challenge for the Pacers. VandeGarde believes that if the Knicks can impose their will on the game and the referees support their approach, they should come out on top.

In terms of individual matchups, a Western scout highlights the importance of Isaiah Hartenstein contesting Myles Turner’s three-point shots and determining who guards Brunson. Additionally, the scout emphasizes that OG Anunoby’s defense on Pascal Siakam will be crucial. Anunoby is known for his excellent defensive skills, and his ability to limit Siakam’s production will be a significant factor in the series.

Overall, the pace of the game, the Knicks’ defensive dominance, and the impact of refereeing decisions are expected to heavily influence the outcome of the series between the Pacers and the Knicks. The Pacers will need to find a way to play fast and score consistently, while the Knicks aim to slow down the game and maintain their defensive intensity. Individual matchups, such as Siakam versus Anunoby, will also play a role in determining the series’ outcome.

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