Nov 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) moves the ball against the defense of Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. The Pacers defeated the Knicks 103-96 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks: Are Knicks Up for Challenge Against Indiana Pacers?

The four-day rest period between the New York Knicks’ previous game and upcoming game is borderline painful. The Knicks are on the longest win streak of their season, and now we must wait for more. Nearly all season long, the Knicks have been painful to watch, and now suddenly… not so much.

With the Knicks trying desperately to make a last-minute playoff push into the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference, they’ve built their current sixth-game win streak by feasting on lesser, more tank-happy opponents. As noted by the New York Times Scott Cacciola, the Knicks haven’t exactly been beating world-beaters. Sure, they deserve credit for not giving up on the season, but as the playoffs draw even closer, the Knicks have to be able to kick it into an extra gear against real teams.

Enter the Indiana Pacers this Wednesday.

The Pacers have faltered a bit in recent weeks, going 6-4 over their last ten. Nonetheless, they’re 49-17 and first place in the Eastern Conference. Not only do they represent the Knicks’ first true test in several weeks, they’re also a potential preview of what the Knicks would see in the first round of the playoffs.

In November, the two teams faced off in Madison Square Garden and went into overtime before the Knicks fell short, due in part, to some questionable officiating. When the Knicks and Pacers met in Indiana again in January, they couldn’t have seemed further apart — the Pacers cruised to a 20-point blowout of the Knicks.

Now, they meet again. The Knicks would surely lose in a seven-game series, should they actually get to the playoffs. But this game means more as to how the Knicks (and their fans) should treat the rest of the season. Can we get excited? Is this final push real? Are the Knicks a team that can actually compete with the elite?

Since the Knicks don’t have a draft pick this summer, they receive nothing by failing to make the playoffs. The postseason is all fans have to root for. Get this win streak up to seven with a win Wednesday night against the Pacers, and we can get excited.

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