NEW YORK KNICKS (23-11)
at INDIANA PACERS (21-14)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Indiana -4.5, Total: 185
The Pacers are looking for three straight victories with a win over the short-handed Knicks on Thursday night.
New York has lost three of its past five games and will be without SF Carmelo Anthony (29.0 PPG, 2nd in NBA) due to a one-game suspension. Indiana is 11-3 SU (9-5 ATS) in its past 14 games despite shooting 40% or worse in four of its past five contests. The Pacers have allowed just one team to reach 100 points during this 14-game surge, holding four of the past five opponents to 83 points or less, including an 87-77 win over Miami on Tuesday. But they have lost four of the past five meetings (SU and ATS) to the Knicks, including an 88-76 home defeat on Nov. 18.
Can the Knicks pull off the upset without Carmelo Anthony? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts were 6-2 ATS on Wednesday, and are 55% ATS (62-51-1) since Dec. 22. StatFox Brian is 5-2 ATS since Sunday and 18-8 ATS (69%) since Dec. 23, while StatFox Scott is 11-6 ATS (65%) since Dec. 29, giving him a season Best Bets mark of 55.1% ATS (49-40), with Brian (55.3% ATS) and StatFox Gary (52% ATS) also profitable. The four experts are collectively 52% ATS (216-200-11) on Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, the experts are a profitable 32-26 (55.2%) since Dec. 28 with StatFox Brian going 11-7 (61.1%) during this span. Scott continues to have a great year at 51-37 (58%) for his season NBA totals.
New York had won two straight until they played against Boston on Monday. That game had a playoff type atmosphere and was very physical. New York couldn’t prevail in the end (due mostly to a 40.8% FG clip) and that is likely to spark a physical game from the Pacers. Without SF Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks will turn to SG J.R. Smith to pick up the scoring. Smith had 24 points against the Celtics on 7-of-18 FG shooting. The Knicks will also need production from PF Amar’e Stoudemire, who was recently told to cut down his minutes from team doctors due to soreness in his surgically repaired knee. Outside of the usual suspects, the Knicks could use contributions from their bench, especially SF Steve Novak (7.6 PPG) and SG Chris Copeland (6.4 PPG).
In Tuesday's impressive 10-point win over Miami, SF Paul George was virtually unstoppable, finishing the game with 29 points and 11 rebounds. C Roy Hibbert, who has struggled all season (9.7 PPG on 40% FG), is now averaging 13.0 PPG, 14.5 RPG and 2.5 BPG over the past two contests. His matchup with Knicks C Tyson Chandler is going to be a very important one. PG George Hill went scoreless in 23 minutes of play versus Miami, but backup PG D.J. Augustin came in and was able to pick up the slack. He finished with eight assists and zero turnovers, doing an incredible job of managing the offense against some of the league’s best defenders. SG Lance Stephenson has played well the last two games, averaging 11.5 PPG on 10-of-19 shooting from the field and 1.5 SPG on the defensive end.