The Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors don't have much in common, but their respective goals for Tuesday night are quite similar. Each playing a pivotal second round postseason game, victories for both teams could put their respective opponents against the ropes going forward.
In Indiana, the Pacers hold a 2-1 advantage over the New York Knicks entering Game 5, which begins at 7 p.m. ET on TNT. Scoring continues to be an issue for New York against its opponents' athletic, relentless defense following Saturday's 82-71 dismantling of Carmelo Anthony and company.
If the Knicks are going to send the series back to MSG all tied up, they'll need to start hitting more shots from practically everywhere. Usually a prolific team from beyond the arc, New York is 20 of 60 (33 percent) in the first three games of the series, which puts pressure on the team's post scorers to make up the difference.
With a hobbled Amar'e Stoudemire still getting healthy, Tyson Chandler struggling with his offensive game and Kenyon Martin being understandably limited by age, Anthony is left to attack and force the issue against a defense designed to stop such endeavors.
As a result, the Knicks' offense has come to a borderline halt, with bickering beginning between players as the struggles pile up. For Indiana, this is exactly what the team wanted: media pressure mounting on a Knicks team searching for offensive identity going into a pivotal game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
For the Warriors, the pressures aren't quite the same, but a loss in Game 5 against the Spurs would put the team at a major disadvantage with Stephen Curry battling ankle problems. Golden State fought for an impressive Game 4 victory at home over the weekend, but getting another win -- this time in San Antonio -- won't be nearly as easy.
Considering how limited Curry appeared to be in Game 4, there's some reason to believe he will be able to handle more playmaking duties going forward than he has of late, but it's clear Jarrett Jack will be depended on to make big plays for the remainder of the series.
Jack rose to the challenge Sunday, leading Golden State to victory with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Facing a Tony Parker who's dealing with some injury woes himself, Jack's ability to take advantage will be integral to the Warriors' success.
The Spurs and Warriors tip off at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT.