Knicks at Pacers
The New York Knicks will be without suspended star Carmelo Anthony when they try to avoid a second consecutive loss - and their fourth defeat in six games - in a road game against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. The NBA handed Anthony a one-game suspension Wednesday for his attempts to confront Boston's Kevin Garnett after the Knicks' home loss to the Celtics on Monday. Anthony leads the team and ranks second in the league with 29 points per game.
Facing the red-hot Pacers would have been enough of a challenge with Anthony in the lineup. Indiana has won two straight and 11 of 14, including an 87-77 home win over Miami on Tuesday. It's the second of four meetings this season and the first in Indiana. The Knicks won 88-76 on Nov. 18 at Madison Square Garden behind a game-high 26 points from Anthony. The Knicks have not lost a season series to the Pacers since they were swept in four games in the 2007-08 campaign.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE KNICKS (23-11): Anthony's absence adds to an already depleted roster with point guard Raymond Felton (broken finger) and forward Rasheed Wallace (foot) out. The Knicks will need J.R. Smith (16.9 points, 5.2 rebounds) to pick up some of the scoring slack along with the frontcourt duo of Tyson Chandler (12.8 points, 10.5 rebounds) and Amar'e Stoudemire (10 points).
ABOUT THE PACERS (21-14): Indiana is one of the top defensive teams in the league, and it has been terrific at that end during its recent hot streak. The Pacers' frontcourt leads the way at the offensive end with David West (16.7 points, eight rebounds) and Paul George (16.7 points, 7.4 rebounds) tied for the team scoring lead. Point guard George Hill (14.7 points, five assists) recently returned from a groin injury that kept him out three games, but he had to leave against the Heat because of dehydration.
1. The Knicks are 17-2 when holding opponents under 100 points and 10-0 when allowing less than 90 points.
2. The Pacers have won eight straight home games dating to Dec. 7 against Denver. They are 13-3 at home this season and 47-18 in their last 65 regular-season games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
3. New York, which hosts Chicago on Friday, is 5-2 on the front end of back-to-back sets this season.