The New York Knicks return to Madison Square Garden tonight after a two game road swing that saw them win a dramatic close game and lose a laugher. The Knicks will host the Indiana Pacers, who despite their pedestrian 27-38 record, sit in playoff position in the Eastern Conference, holding on to the eighth spot coming into tonight's match. The Knicks were given a breath of fresh air when it was announced that the NBA rescinded the most recent technical foul on Amare Stoudemire, which would have been his 16th of the season, cause for an automatic one game suspension.
Stoudemire will play tonight, and he could be joined in the starting five by Chauncey Billups, who is expected to return after missing the past six games. Although Toney Douglas played will in Billups' absence, this will be a welcome sight for the Knicks (34-30. The game is the first of a home and home series, one the Nicks would love to take both of, with the hot Philadelphia 76ers just a game behind them in the standings. The Pacers are reeling, having lost sixth straight, and have been caught in the standings by the Charlotte Bobcats, who share the same record.
In his last seven games against the Pacers, Stoudemire is averaging 30.9 points per game. The Knicks will look to contain the Pacers' leading scorer Danny Granger, whose swoon seems to coincide with the Pacers recent woes. Granger has struggled to score in the past few games, but returned in their last game with a solid 25 points in a losing effort. The Knicks will, as always, need to commit on the defensive end, and not allow Granger to get going.