Pacers stake claim to end as Miami’s closest rivals.
The Indiana Pacers ran out 125-91 winners over the New York Knicks at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday night, and made a clear statement to the rest of the Eastern Conference.
After making a slow start to the season, the Pacers are seemingly beginning to find their stride as they sit at 33-21 and just half a game behind the Knicks for the second-best record in the East.
While they are on their way up, the Knicks in contrast are struggling. Heavily reliant on their ability to shoot from beyond the arc and key man Carmelo Anthony, they are in a slight slump and will hope to bounce back immediately.
What makes their season even more intriguing is that their win on Wednesday night took their record to 4-1 against Miami and New York, showing that they have the individuals and style to take on their biggest conference rivals.
The main criticism labelled at them is still their inability to win in close games. They are just 3-7 in games decided by three points or fewer, and that could be a problem come play-off time when they are likely to be forced into such situations.
David West remains the veteran head overseeing the improvements in Indiana, while Roy Hibbert hasn’t really reached the heights many expected he could after last season.
Instead, it is All-Star Paul George who has been in devastating form, and was again instrumental on Wednesday with a game-high 27 points.
The Pacers have yet to welcome back Danny Granger to the mix, who could even take them up another level.
However, for now they appear intent on catching the Knicks, and with a history of causing the Miami Heat problems, they may well be one to watch in the post-season.
The Pacers face the Detroit Pistons on Friday, while the New York Knicks will look to bounce back against the Toronto Raptors on the same night.