How The Knicks Can Still Beat Indiana
This Knicks team is something, isn’t it? World-beaters one day, awful the next, good offense one day, never played basketball the next. Game 5 was just ONE GAME, but New York won and it had to to stay alive. The task at hand for the Knicks is still a large one, with the Pacers holding a 3-2 advantage going back home looking to close things out. How can the Knicks win two more and become the ninth team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit? Here are five answers.
- Carmelo Anthony. Duh. He has to score 25-30 or more every game. No isolation will help the cause. But ‘Melo is the guy. We know it and he knows it. So do his teammates. Hopefully for Knick fans, Mike Woodson calls the right offense for Anthony to do as much damage as possible. Quick points from Anthony set the tone in any game.
- Right lineup. Smaller, more versatile and with more energy. That was Game 5 for New York and it worked. Game 4 was the opposite and the Knicks got smashed. Chris Copeland, Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni must play and Jason Kidd and Amar’e Stoudemire should be limited. The Knicks flow better this way and Carmelo Anthony seems to play better as well because faster players are moving around him in the halfcourt, which creates easier looks for the Knicks’ superstar.
- Force Pacers’ big people away. Knick double-teams down low, help defense on the low wings and in the paint and pushing Roy Hibbert away from the basket create Indiana’s offense to struggle. And they are already pretty bad to begin with.
- Match Indiana’s physicality. #3 has a lot to do with this. But the Knicks need to come at David West, Paul George and others the same way the Pacers came at them in Games 3 and 4. In-your-face defense, grinding and hustle. This is the playoffs, not November basketball anymore.
- Stop second chance Pacer points. When Indiana can’t get rebounds, their points in the paint are limited, and that is where the offense is the most dangerous. If the Knicks can get 20 rebounds a game the rest of the way from Shumpert, Anthony and Chandler, things will look really good. Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith even had 6 each in Game 5, so guard help on tips and wrestled balls could be a crucial element for New York moving forward against Indiana’s frontcourt as well.
By: Mike Lindsley, “Mid-Day with Mike,” 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.