Studs and Duds: Knicks lose second in a row at home to Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin (00) drives to the basket while being defended by New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Moving a step slow on this occasion, the New York Knicks hosted the Indiana Pacers. Jalen Brunson returned to the lineup along with the debuts of Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks. New York’s lack of front-court depth has become a detriment to their stellar defense, as they were exploited by the fast-paced Indiana Pacers. The Knicks came up short, losing with a final score of 125-111

Studs: New Knicks players make their debuts

The New York Knicks made promising moves at the NBA trade deadline. New York added depth to their stunning rotation while cementing themselves as contenders in the Eastern Conference. Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks combined for 33 points with Burks scoring 22 on 50% from the floor. Burks, a familiar fan favorite, is back in New York looking to make a winning impact for the Knicks.

Averaging 20 points per game this season, Bogdanovic was a high note on an abysmal Detroit Pistons team. A winning culture is associated with the Knicks following their performance last season and exceptional run this year.

Bojan made it clear what his goal is saying, “I missed one playoff in my career. I’m used to big expectations and playing for a playoff team.”

Studs: The Tonight Show with Jalen Brunson 

Following a premiere appearance on the world-renowned ‘Tonight Show,’ Jalen Brunson started spreading the news with a 39-point outing in his return to action. Missing one game with an ankle sprain, the production of Brunson upon return suggests the missed game was a strictly proper precaution.

As one of the franchise cornerstones, Brunson looked aggressive and had more room to work sharing the floor with such great shooters. Brunson is averaging 27.5 points per game on the season, good for the top ten in the association.

Over his last seven games, the all-star is on a tear with averages of 33.5 points per on 51% from the field. A top-five point guard in the NBA, Brunson’s dominance is to be elevated once the Knicks are healthy again.

Studs: Perfect game Precious 

An iron man himself, Precious Achiuwa deserves recognition following his string of performances for the depleted New York Knicks’ front court. Stepping up big against his former team, the Toronto Raptors, has catapulted Achiuwa in the eyes of Coach Tom Thibodeau.

Since the January 20th game against Toronto, Achiuwa is averaging 11 points and nine rebounds, well above his seven points and six rebound season averages. Avid Knicks fan Ben Stiller described Achiuwa best tweeting, “Precious Achiuwa really feels like a Knick who is into being a Knick.”

Achiuwa radiates in his minutes played and will be a focal reserve once health is restored to the Knicks’ front line. 

Duds: The Knicks’ defense was poor

Even the best defense in the league has an off night, as shown by the performance from New York against Indiana. The Pacers’ fast-paced offense was firing on all cylinders, shooting 61% from the field and 48% from three-point range.

Fueled by Tyrese Haliburton’s 22 points and 12 assists night, Indiana exploited the lack of size from the New York Knicks. The Knicks have lost back-to-back home games before a short road trip begins. Pending the return of Isaiah Hartenstein, followed by Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, will ensure the frontcourt defense, but the All-Star break can’t come any sooner for New York. 

Takeaways from the Knicks’ loss to the Pacers

The debuts of Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic were the headlines on this outing. Both players showed signs of what they would bring, stretching the floor even more and having high IQs throughout the rotation. It is known that defense wins championships, and the Knicks’ health must be secure to make a strong run come playoff time.

There are two more road games before a much-needed eight-day all-star break. The Rockets, followed by the Orlando Magic, are two young teams looking to cement themselves this season, and New York must be ready. 

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