Unfortunately for the Indiana Pacers, time to look back on their redemptive victory over the Miami Heat, the team that bounced them out of the playoffs last year, was short. A battle with the New York Knicks was looming just two days away.
The good news is the Knicks and Heat are very similar teams. Both score a lot of points—the Heat ranked sixth in the league, the Knicks fifth—and neither one rebounds very well—29th and 27th, respectively.
The Pacers swarming, smothering defense held up against the Heat, allowing them to shoot only 41.2 percent from the floor. They were also affective in keeping the Heat players off of the glass as they only managed seven offensive rebounds.
The Pacers will need a similar defensive showing and a more evenly distributed offensive performance if they are going to beat the East's two best teams in consecutive games.
Here are five keys to a Pacers win.