Game #35: Knicks at Pacers

When: 8:00 PM

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Network: MSG

Starting Lineups (Subject To Change)

Pacers (21-14)

PG: George Hill

J.R. Smith

SG: Lance Stephenson

SF: Paul George

PF: David West

C: Roy Hibbert

Knicks (23-11)

PG: Jason Kidd

SG: Ronnie Brewer

SF: Chris Copeland

PF: Marcus Camby

C: Tyson Chandler

Brian DiMenna

Playing without the suspended Carmelo Anthony, who as you may recall had a word or two with Boston’s Kevin Garnett (or was it the other way around?), the Knicks plan is to start Chris Copeland, but they’ll still be looking for J.R. Smith to carry the offense tonight in Indiana against a very good Pacers team. Over at CBSSports, Matt Moore summed up Smith thusly:

Smith is one of the few non-star players in the league with a definitive star characteristic. In the NBA you’re going to have a certain number of bad possessions. It’s just going to happen. But when you have the ability to convert low percentage opportunities at a decent or high rate, you have an advantage you can use. 

Is J.R. Smith an advantage? A hindrance? Brilliant? Terrible? Maybe he’s all of that. And how his shots fall on Thursday will deterimine the Knicks’ fate.

This definitely captures the overall nuttiness of Smith’s season thus far, though to me, it also underrates just how well he’s played since a brief lull earlier in the season. The Knicks may yet ask Amar’e Stoudemire to pick up his early pace as he continues to work his way back from a preseason knee injury, though the expectation was the team would still be limiting his minutes to guard against overwork. This will certainly be something to look out for.

Anyway, no Melo everyone. Yes, that’s kind of a bummer, but let’s win nonetheless, shall we?