Monday, February 23, 2009

The Post is Prologue: Pacers at Knicks

Pacers (24-34)
Knicks (23-32)
7:30 P.M EST
Madison Square Garden, NYC

This match-up makes me long for the NBA on NBC. For this site's namesake. For injury reports about Rik Smits' feet and Patrick Ewing's achilles tendon. For 4-point plays. For head butting. For screaming out heinous things about Cheryl Miller. For bile. For delight. And those confused feelings elicited by seeing Mark Jackson shimmying and shaking in a Pacers uniform.

Tonight's game likely won't raise echoes of any of those things. Although, I might - for old time's sake - yell out something undisprovable about my relations with Cheryl Miller. If you hear such classless utterances ringing through the 400 level do not be alarmed. But no matter how much we may pine for it to be, tonight's game is not tethered to recent Knicks history. Or even a fight for the soul of Herb Williams. It is, in fact, a perfect barometer of the present. With nearly identical records, both clubs are looking to find their way in the NBA. Both are contending to be a contender for the No. 8 seed in the East in the last month of the season. Both have shown themselves capable of competing with the league's better clubs. And capable of losing to the league's lesser ones. Rather than the Celtics or the Lebronaliers, teams like the Pacers are the Knicks competition right now. Which is why this is an important game as the team looks to improve.

And, make no mistake: the Knicks should win this game. They are at home. And, the Pacers are without leading-scorer Danny Granger and Knicks nemesis Mike Dunleavy. Unlike Sunday's game in Toronto, I think this is a should-win game for the Knickerbockers and I will be disappointed if they can't pull it out. The Knicks are giving 6.5 points tonight, which means Vegas agrees with my take on the action. Or at least, the betting public does. But, really, I can't imagine that bettors have been moving the line of a Knicks game much these days. To put that spread in perspective, the Knicks were getting just 5.5 against the Lakers and Celtics last week.

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