NBA Playoffs 2013, Pacers vs. Knicks Game 1: Time, TV schedule, odds and more


The Knicks try to carry their defensive pressure into their second round series against Indiana.

The New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers open their second-round series at 3 p.m. Sunday on ABC. The teams split four regular season games, although Knicks star Carmelo Anthony sat out one of them.

Here are three keys to watch in Game 1:

1. Can the Pacers solve the Iman Shumpert problem?

The Knicks took advantage of the Celtics' lack of competent ball handlers with Rajon Rondo out by playing a ball-hawking defense that got deflections and forced turnovers, led by Shumpert. The second-year guard was quick, physical and a constant nuisance to the Celtics, who averaged 16.3 turnovers per game (nearly three above their season average).

The Pacers had turnover problems in the first round, averaging 15 per game against the Hawks. They'll need point guards George Hill and D.J. Augustin to take good care of the ball against Shumpert and the rest of New York's aggressive perimeter defense.

2. Can the Pacers make things tough on 'Melo?

Carmelo Anthony didn't play well in the first round because Boston was successful at giving him different looks defensively with Brandon Bass and Jeff Green, among others. Anthony averaged 29.2 points per game in the first round, but he needed 26 shots per game to do it. He shot just 38 percent overall and 27 percent from three-point range.

The Pacers also have a variety of players they can throw at Anthony. Lance Stephenson carved out a role this season thanks partially to his ability to defend, Paul George is quick enough and long-armed enough to bother Anthony's shots and, if they want to go deep into their bench, even Sam Young is capable of giving a few tough minutes defending Anthony. The Pacers will try to copy Boston's model of turning Anthony into an inefficient volume scorer rather than the dynamic offensive force he was as he surged to a scoring title late in the season.

3. Will J.R. Smith have a J.R. Smith game?

As one of the streakiest players in the league, a shooting slump over the course of a few games isn't unprecedented for J.R. Smith. But the Knicks guard didn't play well in the first round, shooting 38 percent for the series and missing one game due to a suspension for elbowing Jason Terry. Throughout his career, he's occasionally cost teams games when he has an off night, but he's also caught fire and single-handedly led his teams to wins with big offensive performances.

The Pacers will try to prevent him from finding his touch, but it also shouldn't be a surprise if he has a breakout playoff performance early in this series, particularly with Anthony likely to draw a lot of Indiana's focus. The Knicks need some potent offense off their bench, especially with Amar'e Stoudemire unlikely to return until Game 3 of the series at the earliest.

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Longform: The secret world of NBA daps

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