Game 1 of the Pacers-Knicks second-round playoff series is upon us. These three matchups will impact how the series turns out.

The Knicks escaped their slugfest with the 76ers exhausted, down a player (get well soon, Bojan Bogdanovic), but triumphant and confident behind their superstar point guard Jalen Brunson.

They now head to Indiana, where they’re in for an entirely new kind of series. While the first-round slugfest showed the two teams evenly matched and relatively similar in playstyle, they now face the Pacers who in many ways play an inverse game from the Knicks.

The Pacers have been one of the most prolific offenses all season, and following the trade for Pascal Siakam, are now an average defense. When Tyrese Haliburton has been healthy, he’s been a driving offensive force, but he has struggled to find his shot-making footing since returning from a hamstring injury.

The Knicks are going to have to keep their transition defense on point and cover shooters at all five positions, as the Pacers love to run and gun and have shooters everywhere, whom Haliburton is excellent at finding.

So let’s look at three matchups that will help decide the series.

OG Anunoby vs. Pascal Siakam

The Knicks and Pacers each traded for a high-level forward from the Raptors mid-season this year, and it’s kind of beautiful that they will face off against each other in the second round, and will likely take each other as primary assignments. They’ve played over 350 games together, meaning they each know the other’s tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses, but have never faced off against each other.

This should be good news for the Knicks. Siakam was Indiana’s most consistent offensive threat in the first round, averaging 22.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists over the six-game series. His three-point shot isn’t much of a threat these days, but his ability to create off the dribble in the mid-range and in the post is where he does his damage. Luckily, Anunoby is one of the few wings quick enough to stay with him and strong enough to wall him up in the post.

If Anunoby can force Siakam to be an outside shooter first and foremost, it will go a long way toward slowing the Pacers’ potent attack.

Donte DiVincenzo and/or Josh Hart vs. Tyrese Haliburton

It will be interesting to see who Tom Thibodeau gives the first crack at defending the Pacers’ star point guard. Against Tyrese Maxey, Thibs tried OG Anunoby first, then Josh Hart, then Donte DiVincenzo, all of whom gave him interesting looks defensively.

In Game 6, however, Donte really took the challenge to heart and did a phenomenal job hounding Maxey over screens, funneling him into big-man defenders, and contesting every layup, floater, and jump shot.

Whoever gets the Haliburton assignment will be tasked with playing his signature stepback, not allowing separation to find shooters, and making him work off-ball defensively, as Haliburton is as unlikely to start guarding Brunson as Brunson is Hali. That is no easy task, but with Hali still finding his confidence and consistency from three, the off-ball defenders staying home on shooters and forcing Haliburton to be the primary scorer could help keep the team from getting a rhythm.

Isaiah Hartenstein/Mitchell Robinson vs. Myles Turner

If you’re surprised to not see Jalen Brunson on this list, it’s because we know that Brunson is a baller and that Andrew Nembhard will be guarding him, and you just have to trust that Brunson will keep up his “where there’s a will” shotmaking.

The big man battle, on the other hand, will prove more interesting from a gameplan perspective. The Knicks’ center tandem got a taste of covering a stretch big as Embiid went through stretches preferring to shoot from deep than risk the physicality inside. Embiid shot 6.5 threes per game in the first round and hit 33.3% while Myles Turner shot 6.8 and hit 43.9%.

Turner is more of a lob threat on the roll than Embiid, and a great shot-blocker in his own right.

The Knicks’ big men will have to stay tied to Turner on pick-and-pops and not lose him off-ball, while also looking to their normal responsibilities as rim protectors and help defenders. The good news is that the Knicks have proven capable of rim protection by committee thanks to Anunoby, Hart, and even Brunson’s charge-taking ability.

The Pacers are not to be taken lightly. They may not have the defensive pedigree of a contender, but their offense has been overwhelming opponents all year. Luckily, these Knicks should have clear advantages defensively and on the offensive glass, as the Pacers lack the kind of elite rebounders needed to prevent the chaotic crashing of Hart, Mitch, and iHart.

If they do their jobs on these three assignments and Thibs stays as flexible as he was in the first-round with adapting to the series needs, they should be in a good position to take care of business.