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The Knicks Competition in the East – a Glance at the Indiana Pacers: A Fan’s View

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The Knicks Competition in the East – a Glance at the Indiana Pacers: A Fan’s View
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Indiana Pacers' coach Frank Vogel

As the New York Knicks prepare to take the court with their AARP (Association of American Retired Players) roster, it's time to take a peek at the competition for the 2012 season. The Knicks must face the prospect of staring glumly up to the top of the league every day at the Miami Heat, already previewed, with the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics behind them. There are plenty of others that line up to be robust challengers in the Eastern Conference, including the Indiana Pacers.

Indiana Pacers

Upside

The Indiana Pacers imploded in the second half last year, and it was puzzling. At one time, they lost to the Knicks twice in two weeks - games in which the Knicks' defense was at its utmost Mike Woodson best. At that point, the Pacers seemed completely lost. Though they recovered to provide a battle for the Miami Heat in the playoffs, the second half sag has to give you pause.

But for the same reason the Heat had difficulties, the Pacers will challenge for third in the conference, ultimately falling just behind the Celtics. They are, plain and simple, physical beyond all current basketball standards. They conjure the Knicks of the '90's when Pat Riley, understanding the talent at his disposal, wreaked intimidating havoc on the NBA. The Pacers are similar in that regard and have a beast in the middle at center. His name is Roy Hibbert and he is about to cross the threshold into elite. With Danny Granger and Paul George, and D.J. Augustin dishing, the Pacers are significant. The additional "X" factor is Tyler Hansbrough, who elevates an already staunch defensive presence up a notch from the bench.

The Pacers benefit because most teams in the NBA play little to no defense on a regular basis. When Indiana brings it for 48 minutes, teams are unprepared. They ought to know better by now.

Downside

There has to be some concern about the second-half swoon. Defense shouldn't take a night off, but last year, it took a month off. Otherwise, the Pacers are solid.

Glenn Vallach has been a basketball fan, player, and coach during his lifetime and, as such, an ardent follower of the NBA even with all its warts. He have also been a New York Knick fan since the days of Howie Komives and Walt Bellamy, when he regularly boarded the IRT Subway at 180th Street in the Bronx for a trip to the Garden to see his heroes.

Sources:

  • · Yahoo! Sports New York Knicks page
  • · Yahoo! Sports Miami Heat page
  • · Yahoo! Sports Indiana Pacers page
  • · Yahoo! Sports Roy Hibbert page
  • · Yahoo! Sports Danny Granger page
  • · Yahoo! Sports, Ball Don't Lie's 2012-13 NBA Season Previews: The Indiana Pacers

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