Former G League Coach Of The Year, Mike Miller, Makes NBA Head Coaching Debut: Knicks vs. Pacers Preview

Photo via Chris Priczak and Ridiculous Upside

The New York Knicks (4-18) will be at home, facing the Indiana Pacers (14-8) at 7:30pm Eastern Time in Madison Square Garden. The Pacers are listed as 6 point favorites, despite being without two of their top guns, Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon. Mike Miller will be making his debut as the Knicks Head Coach, hoping to bring consistency and growth to the Knicks.

Starting Lineups- With 2 Attributes That Will Be Impactful Tonight (Strength, Weakness)

PositionNew York KnicksIndiana Pacers
PGFrank Ntilikina (defense, scoring)Aaron Holiday (3 point shooting, size)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, defense/shooting)Jeremy Lamb (scoring/rebounding, 3 point shooting)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, fouling)T.J. Warren (scoring efficiently/defense, rebounding)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Domantas Sabonis (rebounding/scoring, turnovers)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, shooting)Myles Turner (shot blocking/3 point shooting, rebounding)

Matchup Of The Night

Julius Randle vs. Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis is an absolute juggernaut in the paint for the Pacers. Sabonis is averaging a career high, 18.4 points and 13 rebounds (5th in the NBA) per game. His rookie season, Sabonis shot a poor 65.7% from the foul line. He has drastically improved in this department, currently shooting a career high, 79.1% this season. Sabonis is also having a career year is assists 3.8, steals 0.8, and blocks 0.5 per game. He has had issues turning the ball over with his uptick in usage (23.6%), averaging 2.8 turnovers per game. Sabonis isn’t an intimidating shot blocker and averages 3.8 personal fouls per game. The Knicks 2nd leading scorer, Julius Randle (16.8 PPG), will look to take advantage of Sabonis’ shady interior defense. Randle takes 56% of his shots and is shooting 55.6% from inside 10 feet. He currently leads the Knicks, averaging 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, along with a usage of 25.7%. Randle also leads the Knicks in turnovers per game (3.3) and personal fouls drawn per game (4.2). He will look to attack Sabonis down low on offense and prioritize boxing Sabonis out on defense.

Inactives

Knicks- Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock

Pacers- Victor Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon, and JaKarr Sampson

Key Statistics

  1. Indiana is 5th in the NBA with a field goal percentage of 47.3%. New York is last in the NBA, shooting 42.2% from the floor.
  2. The Knicks made 10.7 threes per game, 22nd in the NBA. The Pacers make 9.7 threes per game, 28th in the NBA.
  3. The Pacers are shooting 36.7% from three this season, 8th best in the NBA. The Knicks are shooting 35.8% from downtown, 14th in the NBA.
  4. The Knicks average 25.3 free throw attempts per game, 7th in the NBA. The Pacers average 17.9 free throw attempts per game, last in the NBA.
  5. Indiana is 2nd in the NBA in free throw percentage (81.7%). New York is last in the NBA in free throw percentage (67.3%).
  6. New York leads the NBA in offensive rebounding, averaging 12 per game. Indiana is 22nd in the NBA, averaging 9.8 offensive rebounds per game.
  7. Indiana averages 24.8 assists per game, 12th in the NBA. New York averages 19.8 assists per game, last in the NBA.
  8. The Knicks are 19th in the NBA, drawing 20.6 fouls per game. The Pacers are 29th in the NBA, drawing 19.2 fouls per game.
  9. Indiana owns a defensive rating of 104.2, 9th in the NBA. New York owns a defensive rating of 112.9, 25th in the NBA.
  10. The Indiana Pacers are 10th in the NBA, with a NET Rating of 4.9. The New York Knicks are last in the NBA, with a NET Rating of -10.9.
  11. The Knicks are 27th in Pace (98.59). The Pacers are 23rd in Pace (99.38).

Keys To Winning

The Knicks will need to defend the three, limit their fouls, and score in the paint to defeat the Indiana Pacers. The Knicks are currently 29th in the NBA, allowing opponents to shoot 38.6% from three. Indiana has several, strong three-point shooters (T.J. Warren, Doug McDermott, Justin Holiday, Aaron Holiday, Myles Turner, and T.J. McConnell) and the Knicks must not allow them to get hot. The Pacers own the 2nd best free throw percentage in the NBA (81.7%) and the Knicks can’t afford to send them to the line too often. Finally, Indiana has the 9th best defensive rating in the NBA (104.2), but they are 16th in the NBA, allowing opponents to score 48 points per game inside the paint. Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and RJ Barrett will look to lead the way, scoring inside tonight. Marcus Morris Sr., Damyean Dotson, and Frank Ntilikina will space the floor, shooting from the outside.

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