The New York Knicks have missed the playoffs the six previous seasons while the Indiana Pacers have endured a four-season drought. It's highly possible that both those streaks will end this season.
These teams have showed plenty of improvement heading into their first meeting Sunday afternoon when the Knicks try to hand the Pacers an eighth straight road loss.
It was a decade ago when these franchises were postseason regulars, meeting three straight times in the playoffs from 1998-2000. Both are hoping to return to those days, and New York (18-14) enters play with the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference while Indiana (14-17) is seventh.
Neither club is entering this matchup at its best.
The Knicks have lost five of seven during a difficult stretch in which they have faced some of the league's best teams. They are back home after falling 106-98 at Miami on Tuesday and 112-103 at Orlando on Thursday.
Amare Stoudemire finished with 30 points in both losses, but was limited to under 32 minutes Thursday due to foul trouble.
"I thought we were really feeding off each other," Stoudemire said. "If I didn't get in foul trouble, it would have been a different game for sure."
Indiana has also faded a bit, losing seven of 10. The Pacers, though, ended a three-game slide with a 95-86 home victory over lowly Washington on Friday as Danny Granger and Darren Collison each scored 18 points.
"The NBA is a season of runs," Granger said. "Teams that win seven, eight, nine in a row - 10 out of 12, or something like that - that's when teams separate themselves.
"We just haven't hit our stride yet. I think it's coming."
One reason the Pacers have improved is their defense. Indiana finished 13th in the NBA in opponents' field-goal percentage at 45.3 percent in 2009-10, and is among the league leaders at 43.4 percent this season.
The Pacers limited the Wizards to 38.8 percent Friday.
"I'm pleased with our half-court defense," coach Jim O'Brien said. "We talked about teams playing against our half-court defense without giving up cheap baskets. We're making strides. We have a long way to go."
Indiana is 5-0 at New York when Granger starts. These teams split four meetings last season, with Granger averaging 29.0 points in three games.
The Pacers and Knicks both got breakout performances from unlikely sources in their last games.
Rookie Paul George had season highs of 13 points and seven rebounds Friday after seeing action once in the Pacers' previous 17 games.
"I must prepare my mind to be ready to play every game," George said. "A lot of confidence was built off this game tonight. I don't want to be too high or too low. I want to keep working and hopefully keep progressing."
Former Pacers first-round pick Shawne Williams, meanwhile, had a season-high 15 points Thursday for the Knicks. Williams has appeared in 15 straight games after not seeing action in New York's first 17.
honestly the only thing we need for a game thread from this point on is that video that you posted with the girl that has really big boobies :shock2:
She makes me go from 2 to 8 in less then 60 :smokin:
Jan 02, 2011, 14:37
this is a really boring game of foul after foul
Jan 02, 2011, 14:54
Struggling against Indiana ? They have to win this game man..Because I don't think they gonna win against san antonio..I hate to say but the stacks against them are very high against san antonio..Man I hate the fact their schedule is so rough, and everbody else is so damn easy. I just don't know man.:rolling: