The Pacers practiced at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday for the first time in a week. After beating Atlanta in the first round they headed straight for New York City for games 1 and 2 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Pacers stole game one but game two was a different story. The Pacers lost by 26 points to tie up the series against the Knicks at one-a-piece.
Now the series shifts to Indianapolis for games three and four and it helps that the Pacers are known for protecting their home court. They are undefeated in the playoffs and 30-11 in the regular season back in Indianapolis.
“It’s nice to be home. Sleep in your own bed but we came in and got some work in today and got in rest yesterday as well,” said center Roy Hibbert.
Frank Vogel and company spent a large portion of practice on working on ball security. That was their Achilles heel on Tuesday night, the Pacers committed 21 turnovers which lead to 32 points for the Knicks. Sloppy play one of the main reasons for the Pacers lopsided 26 point loss in game two.
“That has been an issue for us through out the year when we haven’t been ball tough teams have upped their pressure and aggressiveness on us. We just have to be able to take care of the basketball,” said forward David West.
“They are number two in the league in forcing turnovers. They scratch and claw and slap you on your wrist on every play and gamble,” added Head Coach Frank Vogel.
The Pacers must also prepare for 6’11” power forward Amar’e Stoudemire who is making a return from knee surgery. Stoudemire missed the last 23 games in the regular season and all of the Knicks playoff games so he is only expected to log 10-15 minutes in game three.
“I’ve played against Amar’e since I was in high school so it is nice to see him healthy. We are just going to have to have the same mind-set. I’m figuring out if they are going with a big lineup,” said Hibbert.
The Pacers still have another day to prepare, game three doesn’t tip-off until Saturday night at 8 p.m.