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Pacers vs. Knicks Preview: Classic rivalry bubbling up once again

The Pacers and Knicks playing meaningful basketball is always a pleasure.

New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers (23-18) are in Gotham on Wednesday night to take on the New York Knicks (22-19) at MSG.

The Pacers and Knicks have had some epic matchups over the past 30 years and it appears both teams ramping up to add a new era to the rivalry of Reggie Miller (choke, 8.9, 25 points), Patrick Ewing (finger roll, ‘Ding Dong’), John Starks (headbutt), Larry Johnson (4 pt BS), Roy Hibbert (sorry Melo) and many more subplots throughout the years (don’t avert your eyes, Spike).

Both teams are currently within one game in the Eastern Conference standings with the Pacers holding a one game edge prior to the tip. However, a Knicks win would level the records but give NYK the tie breaker. With both teams rising up ahead of schedule as players in the East, they will likely continue to battle for the same real estate even if they won’t have a playoff matchup in the post season this year. Fortunately, that makes these regular season games more meaningful.

On Dec. 18, the Pacers let a late lead slip away as the Knicks outscored the Pacers 11-2 over the final two minutes. Advantage Knicks. We can only hope both sides can remain healthy and playing at the same level to make the remaining games meaningful. For the Pacers, two of the last three games of the season are against the Knicks including the season finale at Madison Square Garden. Here’s to hoping that game has significant playoff implications for both teams.

But for tonight, the Pacers would benefit greatly from evening up the season series. Aaron Nesmith has been sick this week and is questionable. Prior to the season, stressing Nesmith’s availability would have been odd, but the versatile swingman has made a big impact on the Pacers and his absence would be felt. As for the Knicks, they will likely be without RJ Barrett who hit the Pacers for 24 points in the last game. They will have Evan Fournier back in the rotation this time around, but the key for the Pacers is managing the Knicks’ dynamic front court, not getting crushed on the glass and keeping Myles Turner in the game to patrol the paint.

Oh, and the skinny lead dog for the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton channeling his inner Reggie to show out at the Garden wouldn’t hurt either. Something tells me, Hali will be ready to roll in this one.

DraftKings Odds: Knicks -4.5, O/U 226 (latest DraftKings odds here)

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

TV: Bally Sports Indiana/Bally Sports + app

Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM

Projected Starting Lineups:

Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Andrew Nembhard, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Myles Turner

Knicks: Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickly, Quentin Grimes, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson

IND: T.J. McConnell - questionable (sore right shoulder), Aaron Nesmith - questionable (non-COVID illness), Kendall Brown - out (right tibia stress reaction), Daniel Theis - out (right knee surgery)

NYK: RJ Barrett - questionable (lacerated right index finger)

Please share your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.