How the Three-Point Shot Affects Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks

Feb 22, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd (5) during their game against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Knicks 100-98. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the New York Knicks took a step back in the Eastern Conference rankings, slipping to the third position. The Indiana Pacers took advantage and beat up the Detroit Pistons to move up to the second seed.

The New York Knicks have been struggling mightily as of late, as the team has finally hit the inevitable shooting slump. The Knicks have fallen in love with the three-point shot this season, as the team leads the league in three-point attempts.

For the first 20 games of the season, the Knicks were constantly burning the opposition by shooting over 40% from the three-point line, but are shooting 30% from deep on 26 attempts per game in their last 5 games. The slump has led to a season-worst 4-game losing streak, after yesterday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.

On the other side we have the Indiana Pacers, who have been on a roll lately. While the team is 3-2 on their last five games, the Pacers are on a three-game winning streak and 8-2 in their last 10 games. During this 10-game stretch, the Pacers are shooting 41% from beyond the arc, way ahead of the their 35.5% season average. Here is a short chart of the Pacers three-point shooting in their last 10 games, according to stats:

The two of the very top teams in the Eastern Conference are clearly on different sides of the spectrum right now, which has led the Pacers to taking over the second seed in the conference. The Pacers have also been very selective with their shooting, as the Knicks have taken 304 three-pointers to the Pacers’ 188 in the same 10 game stretch.

While the regular season might not mean that much, the seeding will have huge implications on the playoff race this season. The second and third seeds in the East will be highly coveted, as everyone will want to avoid facing the Miami Heat, who seem to be locking in the first seed right now, until the conference finals.



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