NBA playoffs preview: Knicks vs. Pacers

Eastern Conference semifinals

No. 2 Knicks vs. No. 3 Pacers

Season series: Tied, 2-2.

Key stat: Indiana held Atlanta to 89.3 points per game in the first round, limiting the Hawks to 33% shooting in the final two games.

Outlook: It may seem like old times with these teams rekindling a playoff rivalry that saw them go head to head six times from 1993 to 2000, but about the only reminder of the Pacers of Reggie Miller and the Knicks of Patrick Ewing could be Spike Lee watching the action at Madison Square Garden. Well, that's not entirely true: New York center Marcus Camby was part of the Knicks team that reached the conference semifinals in 2000, but like Lee, the seldom-used backup is mostly seen sitting courtside these days. This series will be largely about which team wins the matchup of the NBA's most prolific scorer, New York forward Carmelo Anthony, against the league's second-best defense in points allowed (90.7) during the regular season. Indiana's offense can be spotty, with Paul George, David West and George Hill leading the way when things don't go wayward. New York super-sub J.R. Smith, the NBA's sixth man of the year, could be a leading figure if he can give the Knicks his knack for scoring.

Prediction: Miller once famously scored eight points in nine seconds against the Knicks in a 1995 playoff game. New York may have trouble scoring that many points in some quarters in this series. Pacers in seven.

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