Pro Hoops on Sunday afternoon and we will see the Indiana Pacers travel to New York to take on the New York Knicks. The game is scheduled for a 3:35 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised locally. Currently the Odds for the game have New York favored by 4 points while the total sits at 194.
Analysis: Indiana is 2-1 against New York this season and a third victory would allow the Pacers to win the season series for the first time since sweeping four meetings in the 2007-08 season. The Pacers routed New York 125-91 on Feb. 20 in the most recent meeting when Anthony was limited to 15 points. Indiana is two games ahead of fourth-place Brooklyn in the competition for the No. 3 seed. Indiana’s defense has been suspect recently with four of the last six opponents topping 100 and the Brooklyn Nets scoring 117 – the most against the Pacers all season – on Friday. The Pacers have allowed 103.7 per game during the poor stretch after holding 10 straight teams under 100. Indiana ranks second in scoring defense at 90.5 per game but the recent efforts have prompted apprehension with the start of the playoffs just a week away. “I think as a group we should be very concerned,” forward David West said after the loss to the Nets. “We’re not showing the ability to play complete games and at this time of year, we should be focusing on tweaks we’re going to make as the year comes to a close.” Indiana is just 22-55 when playing at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The New York Knicks can clinch the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win today. New York has a three-game lead over Indiana in the battle for the playoff positioning that would land the Knicks home-court advantage in each of the first two rounds. New York has won 14 of 15 games behind the scoring spree of forward Carmelo Anthony. Anthony leads the NBA with a 28.7 scoring average and has topped 30 points in seven straight games, averaging 38.6 points during the stretch. While Anthony has been the hottest scorer in the league in recent weeks, swingman J.R. Smith has been the most potent reserve in the NBA. Smith had 31 points in Friday’s victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers for his fifth 30-point outing in 11 games. Smith made his final 12 field-goal attempts while shooting 13-of-16 against the Cavaliers. “I just got into a rhythm,” Smith said afterward. “Later on, I knew Carmelo was pretty much done playing, so I wanted to put the game away so everybody could get some rest.” Smith joined Anthony in having a poor showing in the February loss to the Pacers, scoring just five points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Pick: I like the Under in this one. The Pacers allowed 117 points to Brooklyn and that is way out of character for this team, so I look for some defensive intensity from them in this one. The Pacers are 2nd in the league in scoring defense and 1st in FG% defense and they should be able to contain a New York offense that may put it on cruise control for this one as the play offs are right around the corner. New York has played good defense of last as they have held opponents to 91 or less in 5 of their last 7 non-OT games and they have allowed just 94.4 ppg at home, while the Pacers have averaged just 91.2 ppg on the road this year. I expect a close game that should have the Pacers dictating pace with their slow down game. Don't be surprised if Indiana wins outright here, but also don't be surprised if this game finishes under 180 points.
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NBA Free Picks: Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks Betting
What pro basketball bettors need to know about Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks on Sunday (4/14/13) - a free pick from Pregame.com's Marco D'Angelo, with Ken Thomson.