2024 Knicks vs. Pacers 2nd-Round preview: Why New York can win, breakdown, odds, more

Jalen Brunson Knicks Pacers
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

After taking down an old divisional foe in the first round of the playoffs, the New York Knicks face one of their most historic rivals in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Indiana Pacers. 

These were once some of the most contentious meetings of basketball’s golden era in the 1990s: John Starks’ headbutt of Reggie Miller in 1993, Miller’ choking motion in 1994 and eight points in nine seconds in 1995, Larry Johnson’s four-point play in 1999. These two teams met each other six times from 1993-2000 in the playoffs.

This time around, it’s Jalen Brunson vs. Tyrese Haliburton. It’s a high-flying Indiana offense against the team-first, physical Knicks. It’s going to be supreme postseason theatre. 

Knicks vs. Pacers 1st Round Schedule

Game  Date Time (ET) Venue TV
1 Monday, May 6 7:30 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY TNT
2 Wednesday, May 8 8 p.m. Madison Square Garden, New York, NY TNT
3 Friday, May 10 7 p.m. Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN ESPN
4 Sunday, May 12 3:30 p.m. Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN ABC
5* Tuesday, May 14 TBD Madison Square Garden, New York, NY TNT
6* Friday, May 17 TBD Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN ESPN
7* Sunday, May 19 TBD Madison Square Garden, New York, NY TBD

*If necessary


Knicks vs. Pacers Regular Season Tale of the Tape

Knicks Stat Pacers
50-32 Record 47-35
2nd in East Finish 6th in East
112.8 (19th) Points Per Game 123.3 (1st)
108.2 (2nd) Points Against Per Game 120.2 (27th)
45.2 (5th) Rebounds Per Game 41.5 (28th)
46.5% (T-20th) FG% 50.7% (1st)
36.9% (T-13th) 3P% 37.4% (9th)


Knicks vs. Pacers Playoffs Tale of the Tape

Knicks Stat Pacers
4-2 Record 4-2
Beat 76ers in 6 Last Round Beat Bucks in 6
108.3 (4th) Points Per Game 113.0 (2nd)
108.2 (11th) Points Against Per Game 110.2 (14th)
45.5 (T-2nd) Rebounds Per Game 43.8 (7th)
44.1% (11th) FG% 47.9% (4th)
37% (6th) 3P% 34.4% (9th)


Why the Knicks can win

Jalen Brunson knicks
New York Knicks’ Jalen Brunson reacts after winning Game 6 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Defense and rebounding win championships: The Pacers had the NBA’s best offense in the regular season, which will put the Knicks’ staunch defense to the test, but there is a clear discrepancy in two of the game’s most important aspects. New York dominated the glass during the regular season and did for long stretches of their first-round series against the 76ers. The return of Mitchell Robinson helps and gives the Knicks a clear edge over a Pacers team that ranked 28th in rebounding this year. Snuffing out second-chance points and slowing down an efficient offense will be vital.

Indiana’s defense has been susceptible to down nights this season. They allowed over 120 points per game, which ranked 27th in the league, while opponents shot over 49% from the field. That ranked dead-last in the NBA. New York’s offense could have some big nights this series.


Brunson on big stage: The brighter the lights, the bigger Jalen Brunson appears to play. New York’s superstar continued his MVP-worthy season in the first round of the postseason, shaking off mediocre showings in Games 1 and 2 to take over when it mattered most. In the final four games against Philadelphia, the All-Star averaged 41.8 points and 10.3 assists per game on 49.2% shooting from the field. He has shown an ability to carry the Knicks when needed with the tenacity to shoulder the high expectations that come with leading a championship-starved franchise in the postseason. 

He is scoring from everywhere and doing practically everything right.


Big-man rotation: The Knicks neutralized Joel Embiid enough in the first round and have another stiff test in Indiana’s Pascal Siakam in Round 2. The power forward led his team with 22.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game against Milwaukee and figures to be a central figure in Indiana’s attack. 

He will be an assignment of the team’s best defender in OG Anunoby, but will also receive plenty of help from Precious Achiuwa. Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein will also help securing the front court as they did in the first round when they held Embiid and Tobias Harris to just 43.9% shooting from the field.


Projected Knicks Starting 5

  • PG- Jalen Brunson
  • SG- Donte DiVincenzo
  • SF- Josh Hart
  • PF- OG Anunoby
  • C- Isaiah Hartenstein

Projected Pacers Starting 5

  • PG- Tyrese Haliburton
  • SG- Andrew Nembhard
  • SF- Aaron Nesmith
  • PF- Pascal Siakam
  • C- Myles Turner


Knicks vs. Pacers 2nd-round odds

  • Knicks to win series: -245
  • Pacers to win series: +200

Odds courtesy of DraftKings. For more, click here.

For more on the Knicks, visit AMNY.com