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Wednesday, March 19th (All times Eastern)
Indiana Pacers (50-17) at New York Knicks (27-40), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - There's a buzz around the New York Knicks with their recent hiring of Phil Jackson as team president.
The Indiana Pacers would like to play the role of killjoy when they invade Madison Square Garden to take on the resurgent Knicks Wednesday night.
Jackson was introduced as president of the Knicks Tuesday afternoon and is eager to turn the franchise around. The move was expected after reports surfaced last week that Knicks owner Jim Dolan set his sights on Jackson for the position and was aggressive in getting the deal done.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Jim Dolan," said Jackson in a statement released by the team. "I have gotten to know Jim and he is totally committed to delivering a winner for New York. I started my career as a Knick, and know what it feels like to win in this great city."
Jackson wouldn't commit to a timeline on how long it would take to turn around the Knicks, who are currently 13 games under .500, haven't won an NBA title since 1973 and last made the NBA Finals in 1999.
"We're not anticipating time," said Jackson. "We're going to make one step at a time. I think that's the most important thing. We're going to push this team and, hopefully push into the playoffs, and see how they really can compete and make decisions from there. From there on, we'll take it a step at a time as we go forward."
The Knicks have been moving forward with six straight wins since a seven-game losing streak and have been resting since Saturday's 115-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Carmelo Anthony, who's future status with the Knicks is unknown with free agency looming, scored 23 points and rookie Tim Hardaway, Jr. added 20 off the bench.
J.R. Smith and Amare Stoudemire scored 15 points apiece, as the Knicks shot a blistering 55 percent to remain the hunt for a playoff berth. The Knicks are 4 1/2 games off a postseason spot in the East.
"Our backs are against the wall. We're trying to get into the playoffs," Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said. "This year has been a roller coaster ride for our ball club but we still can come out of this thing by trying to get the eighth spot. The only way we can do that is by continuing to win."
Woodson's status for the future as head coach of the Knicks is cloudy, but he has something going right now. New York will shoot for its fourth straight win at home and has a 15-20 record at MSG this season.
The Knicks will visit Philadelphia Friday night.
Indiana enters the Big Apple winners in four straight after losing four in a row. The Pacers were able to handle the floundering Philadelphia 76ers, 99-90, Monday night at home, as Lance Stephenson scored 25 points and Paul George added 24 to send the Sixers to a franchise-record 21st consecutive loss.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel talked about the nine-point win afterward.
"That's kind of been our trademark the past couple of years -- to win ugly. And we certainly won ugly tonight," Vogel admitted.
The Pacers are three games ahead of Miami for the East's top seed and are allowing an NBA-best 92.2 ppg this season. They have won two in a row on the road and are 19-13 as the visitor this season. Center Andrew Bynum is expected to miss the Knicks game with fluid in his right knee.
Indiana, which is 9-4 in the last 13 games, will return home Friday for a big matchup with rival Chicago and have beaten the Knicks twice this season. Indiana needed overtime to win at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 20 and is 4-1 in the previous five games in this series.
That win snapped a three-game slide for the Pacers at MSG.
03/19 10:23:59 ET
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