Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 1/2

Game 1: Friday, January 2nd
Game 2: Saturday, January 31st
Game 3: Monday, February 23rd

Pacers 105

(11-21, 5-12 away)

Knicks 103

(12-19, 7-8 home)

    Coverage: NBATV

    7:30 PM ET, January 2, 2009

    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 27 26 30 22105
    NY 23 21 33 26103

    Top Performers

    Ind: J. Jack 29 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl

    NY: D. Lee 26 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 5 Stl

    Pacers-Knicks Preview


    The Indiana Pacers are still struggling to close out games, while the New York Knicks needed a matchup with the league's lowest-scoring team to snap their longest losing streak of the season.

    Both clubs, however, are optimistic that they can turn things around.

    The Knicks look to build on their first win in more than two weeks Friday night when they host the Pacers, losers of 11 of their last 14.

    New York (12-18) has shed some of its biggest salaries in a rebuilding season, and as a result, the Knicks have struggled to stay competitive in the Eastern Conference. They've lost 15 of 21 since their 6-3 start, and had dropped six straight before escaping with a 93-89 win over lowly Charlotte on Tuesday night.

    Despite his team's struggles, first-year coach Mike D'Antoni is convinced New York will improve.

    "I'm not backing off what I told you before, that we can be a good team," D'Antoni said. "It's up to us to prove it."

    Knicks players think their latest win could be a step in the right direction. New York shot just 42.4 percent from the field but had five players score in double figures, including Wilson Chandler, who had seven of his team-high 19 points in the final four minutes.

    The Knicks also gave up a season-low point total, holding an opponent to fewer than 100 points for the first time since Dec. 13 -- their last win.

    "We're going into the new year feeling good about ourselves," said forward Al Harrington, who had 16 points and six rebounds off the bench Tuesday. "We're happy."

    The Pacers (10-21) can't be quite as thrilled with their latest effort, as they blew another opportunity to win a close game and fell 110-104 to Atlanta.

    "We're putting ourselves in position to win against elite teams -- that's the good news," said Pacers coach Jim O'Brien, whose team lost to Southwest Division-leading New Orleans 105-103 in its previous contest. "The bad news is we haven't figured out how to win games down the stretch."

    Indiana has lost 11 games by six points or fewer this season, and is 0-4 in overtime contests. The Pacers have dropped four in a row overall, defeats that have come by a total of 12 points.

    Like their coach, however, Pacers players are encouraged by their ability to keep things close against stiff competition.

    "It seems like we're one or two plays away. We just have to be able to play for an entire 48 minutes," point guard Jarrett Jack said. "It's like heartbreak hotel in here after the game.

    "We're playing good basketball, we're a competitive ballclub, we're in every game. Nobody can come in here and think this is an easy win."

    The Pacers didn't have much trouble putting the Knicks away last season. They swept the four-game season series, winning by an average of 12.7 points.

    Indiana forward Danny Granger is averaging 27.8 points in four games since returning from a two-game absence due to a stomach virus. He averaged 21.0 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 88.2 percent from the free-throw line against New York last season.