Some Pacers vs Knicks thoughts
1. Temper check: Everyone thinks J.R. Smith is a little crazy on the court. Well, Lance Stephenson is the real deal. Angrier, meaner and much more sincere in his tantrums. The two were nose-to-nose earlier this season – and you can expect Stephenson to egg on Smith, who Knicks fans can only hope learned his lesson. By the way, Smith threw the same elbow at Stephenson that he threw at Jason Terry – but didn’t connect.
2. Temper check – part II: Every minute that Tyler Hansbrough is on the floor you wonder who is going to lose it on him. Well, Kenyon Martin wasn’t with the Knicks for any of their four games against Indiana this year, but he would seem to fit the bill.
Missing in Action:
Steve Novak will sit out at least Game 1 with the continuing back spasms. Amar’e Stoudemire is out until Game 3 at the least. Stephenson turned an ankle in Game 7 of the Pacers opening round series – but is expected to play. Danny Granger is gone for the season.
Maybe not so secret anymore since he surfaced in the opening round with the form that he hadn’t displayed since last season – but Iman Shumpert is an X-factor again. The athletic swingman can handle Paul George as well as anyone on the Knicks roster, allowing them to stay small and keep Carmelo Anthony at power forward. He also scored with confidence in the Boston series – and even posted a 12-rebound game.
-- Bergen Record