The New York Knicks (23-11) are set to host the Indiana Pacers (21-14) in the early TNT matchup on Thursday night, but they will be without superstar wing Carmelo Anthony, who was suspended for the contest after a post-game altercation with Kevin Garnett on Jan. 7. Anthony's absence takes some of the luster away from the game, but the Knicks will still have to play a very solid game to knock off a suddenly-hot Pacers team (8-2 in last 10 games).
Paul George scored a team-high 29 points on Tuesday night as Indiana knocked off the Miami Heat, 87-77, and it will be interesting to see if the Knicks can find a way to counter any big scoring push from George. In reality, the story for the Pacers is still defense. The team ranks No. 1 in defensive efficiency, but that unit will be put to the test against New York, who boasts the No. 2 offense in the NBA.
In the last game on TNT, the Miami Heat (23-10) will take on the surprising Portland Trail Blazers (19-15) in a matchup that pits two below-average rebounding units against each other. The rebounding narrative has dominated the conversation in Miami for several weeks (though smart analysts have pushed back and noted that the Heat don't need to be a great rebounding team to succeed), so be prepared for a lot of talk about rebounding on the TNT broadcast.
In the only other game of the night, the Sacramento Kings are set to host the Dallas Mavericks in what could be an explosive scene at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. There's no telling how fans might react to the recent news that the Maloofs are in talks to sell the franchise to a Seattle-based group. The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Southwest-Dallas and Comcast-California, so fire up NBA League Pass if you want to find out what happens there.
Here's the full Thursday schedule via SI.com (all times ET):
New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers, 8 p.m.
Dallas Mavericks at Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m.
Miami Heat at Portland Trailblazers, 10:30 p.m.