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5 Reasons Why the New York Knicks Have A Chance To Beat Indiana Pacers

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The Confident New York Knicks

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As Mike Woodson makes his return to the state where he achieved much success as a college basketball player for the Indiana Hoosiers, he has a very difficult task ahead of him. Woodson's current team, the New York Knicks, have been playing much improved basketball, but they are currently up against their biggest test of the season. The Indiana Pacers are currently the best team in the NBA when judged by their 81.1 winning percentage, but the Knicks have a legitimate chance to leave Indiana with a victory Thursday night.

Obviously, this article runs the huge risk of appearing ridiculous after this game takes place, but New York has appeared to be a different team since the New Year. Nobody expected the Knicks to win games over the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat when they looked at the schedule, and there is no doubt that the Knicks still have a few surprises in them before this month ends.

Don't write New York off simply because it went and laid an egg against the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night. The entire Knicks roster was looking ahead to this upcoming game against the NBA's best team, which also happens to be the same team that sent New York home in the 2013 playoffs.

This next meeting will be a rematch of a game that took place in late November between the Knicks and Pacers at Madison Square Garden. The Pacers were able to emerge victorious in that one, but the Knicks were in the midst of an epic slump at that time. New York is playing much better now, and here is a list of five ways the Knicks can earn a surprising win against the Pacers this time around.

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1. Share the Basketball On Offense

Raymond Felton
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks have relied heavily on Carmelo Anthony to provide the majority of their scoring all season long, but isolation basketball doesn't work against well-coached defensive teams like the Indiana Pacers. Anthony averages 26.0 points per game, but the Pacers only allow a league-leading 88.1 points per game to their opponents. If the Knicks refuse to share the basketball, they have no shot at earning a victory. End of discussion.

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2. Andrea Bargnani Has To Man Up Inside

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Andrea Bargnani has to take the challenge of guarding David West in the post. Bargnani has been long criticized for his lack of defensive ability, but he has to take some of the pressure off of the Knicks' other defensive players by holding his own in his matchup versus the physical West. If Bargnani is up to the challenge defensively, he can also create an advantageous situation for New York with his ability to stretch the floor on offense, and West will likely struggle guarding Bargnani out on the perimeter.

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3. Mike Woodson and J.R. Smith Have To Get Over Their Issues

J.R. Smith
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

J.R. Smith has been acting rather erratically lately, and his behavior has apparently earned him his second DNP over the course of his last four games versus the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night. Mike Woodson would not reveal any details on why he sat Smith, but Woodson and Smith need to make amends quickly. The Knicks desperately need Smith's scoring ability against the Indiana Pacers.

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4. Don't Allow Roy Hibbert To Dominate

Tyson Chandler
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of Tyson Chandler, who had an unimpressive performance in his return from an upper respiratory infection against the Charlotte Bobcats. Al Jefferson dropped 35 points on New York Tuesday, and they can't afford to allow Roy Hibbert to post similar numbers. Chandler used the Bobcats game as a tune-up for the Indiana Pacers, and he should be up to the challenge of defending Hibbert. If Chandler isn't up to the task, then New York will definitely be in for a long night in Indiana.

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5. Carmelo Anthony Has To Win His Individual Duel With Paul George

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA fans should be excited for the opportunity to watch a special situation, as Carmelo Anthony and Paul George will likely be forced to guard each other. With the way the Knicks' roster was comprised a year ago, this situation was not possible, as Anthony was forced to guard David West the majority of their games with the Indiana Pacers. Now, Anthony and George will likely get the opportunity to square off one on one, and if Anthony can win this battle, the Knicks have a chance to pull off an improbable road upset.