How the Knicks can win: Spread the floor with a smaller lineup and create mismatches. With that being said, the ball has to move and the Knicks have to make shots. If they do that, then they are dangerous. If they don’t they are going home for the summer. In addition Anthony has to be big. He’s too big for George to guard and too quick for David West. Anthony has to carry the Knicks to a series win.
How the Pacers can win: Control the paint. Indiana wants to control the game physically. They will pound on the Knicks until they tap out. With the likes of Roy Hibbert, West and Tyler Hansbrough in the paint, they will want to make it very tough for the Knicks to score at the rim. New York has the tendency to whine and cry to the officials about everything. Indiana will give them a reason to cry in this series. It’s all about defense and Indiana is the best defensive team in the Eastern Conference. They can make it hard for the Knicks to score in the paint and they defend the perimeter very well, which could take away the Knicks biggest strength. If they pound on the Knicks physically and force them to take contested shots, Anthony and J.R. Smith will play right into their hands.
X-Factor: Iman Shumpert. Shump looks like a different player then when he first came back and could prove to be a big factor in this series. Defensively he has the ability to take George out of the series and his offense is starting to come around. If Shumpert proves to be a scorer in this series, the Knicks could be too tough to defend, even for the Pacers. Now it’s just a matter of Mike Woodson playing the second-year pro enough for him to make a difference.
Most Interesting Stat: The Pacers only have one player on their playoff roster older than 27 (32-year-old West). The Knicks only have one player on their playoff roster younger than 27 (22-year-old Shumpert).
Prediction: Knicks in seven as having Game 7 in The Garden will prove to be big.