Rival fan base is biggest non-playoff winner of anticipated Knicks-Pacers series

At least they can still enjoy the playoffs!
New York Knicks, OG Anunoby
New York Knicks, OG Anunoby / Elsa/GettyImages

The New York Knicks will renew their rivalry with the Pacers in the second round of the 2024 playoffs. The last time two times the teams met up in the postseason, Indiana advanced. Maybe things will be different for New York this time around.

The Knicks and Pacers have one big thing in common from 2023-24. In the middle of the season, both teams finalized a trade with the Raptors. On Dec. 30, New York sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to Toronto for OG Anunoby. A few weeks later, Indiana sent Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, and draft assets to Toronto for Pascal Siakam.

Less than four months after the Pacers-Raptors trade, former teammates Anunoby and Siakam will face off in the semifinals. Both know what it's like to win an NBA title (even though OG missed the run due to emergency surgery), as they did so with the Raptors in 2019. They spent six-and-a-half seasons together.

Toronto's future looks bright with Barrett, Quickley, and Scottie Barnes, but Raptors fans haven't watched their team in the playoffs in the past two years. At least in the second round, they'll see OG and Pascal (and even Precious Achiuwa!) on the same court again, just on different teams.

Raptors fans looking forward to OG vs. Pascal in Knicks-Pacers second round

Anunoby and Siakam have transformed their respective teams, and it's only been a few months. Wait until they play their first full seasons in New York and Indiana.

As proud as Toronto fans might be watching Knicks-Pacers, it will sting a little bit, too. The Raptors kept hold of their core for so long, hoping for a breakthrough. Fred VanVleet left in 2023 free agency to sign with the Rockets, which was the beginning of the end for Toronto.

The Raptors had a go-to scorer in Siakam and one of the league's best defenders in Anunoby but couldn't reconstruct a winning team again after losing Kawhi Leonard to LA after the 2018-19 season. Since that miraculous championship run, Toronto made it to the playoffs twice, with one trip resulting in a first-round exit and another ending in the second round.

This year, at least Raptors fans will get to watch one of their favorite former players in the Eastern Conference Finals. Let's hope it'll be OG.