The New York Knicks are looking to win their seventh straight game, but may have to do so the way they won their last game, and that's without Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire missed the Knicks victory over the Nets on Friday due to a sprained ankle he suffered Wednesday night in Philadelphia. New York (41-38) was able to win without Stoudemire Friday, and with the Knicks playoff berth already clinched, and no real advantage to gain seeding-wise (they'll either finish 6th or 7th and play the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat, who are both battling for the second seed), the safe play would be to sit Stoudemire tonight when the Knicks take on the Pacers in Indianapolis.
The Knicks' six game winning streak is due in large part to the play, and specifically the shooting, of Carmelo Anthony. Anthony has been red-hot from the field recently, including his best stretch of the season from behind the three-point line. The Knicks as a team have been shooting very well recently, a trend they hope continues into the playoffs. In Friday's blowout win over the Nets, the Knicks connected on 15 3-pointers. With the Knicks struggling to defend as they always do, the 3-point shot will be a key for them once postseason play begins next week.
Although the Pacers come in with a paltry record of 37-43, they're headed to playoffs and will face the Chicago Bulls in the first round. Indiana is also enjoying a good stretch, having won four out of their last five games, including wins over the playoff-bound Celtics and Atlanta Hawks. The Pacers are led by swingman Danny Granger, who is averaging 20.5 points-per-game this season.