Knicks vs. Pacers Game 1: Uplifting things and disconcerting things


I didn’t do an “Uplifting things and disconcerting things” piece after the Knicks knocked the Celtics out on Friday night, partially because my Macbook charger randomly decided to stop working, and partially because there really wasn’t anything disconcerting at all about Friday night’s elimination of the hated Celtics, right? People told me there was something crazy that happened in the 4th quarter, but I don’t really remember that so I’m assuming nothing bad happened.

Yesterday the Knicks entered the second round of the playoffs for the first time in forever and it was a dud. Let’s take a look at how and why that happened before we delve into the Knicks’ task of avoiding a 2-0 deficit on Tuesday.

An uplifting thing: The offense of the Knicks’ starting backcourt, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert. If Shumpert scores in double digits with some level of efficiency, the Knicks should win more than they lose (provided they get from their top players what they should, which of course is not quite happening at the moment). Felton has been the Knicks’ consistently best player since Game 4 of the first round. Yesterday he had a lot of success in the pick-and-roll, and was the only Knick who realized it might be smarter to pull up for a floater or a short jumper, thus avoiding Roy Hibbert’s 76-foot wingspan, than is it to barrel into him. The way the whistles were going yesterday, it made no sense to continually bump with Hibbert and try to shoot over him, and Ray seemed to get that.

A disconcerting thing: Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith went 14-42 from the field. The Knicks won 54 games in the regular season with them as their top dogs, and both have to start hitting some twine quickly and consistently. Anthony was the main culprit in going after Hibbert. Yes, had the game been officiated by different people than yesterday’s crew, Hibbert could have very well been in foul trouble. But it was fairly clear early on that they were going to let Hibbert do what he wanted, and the Knicks didn’t really adjust to that. Admittedly, that’s hard to do, because it’s a basketball best practice to go to the rim, no? Going to forward, the Knicks need to get Hibbert out of the paint (Amar’e Stoudemire could help here), or make him pay for sagging on pick-and rolls or helping in the post (which means Tyson Chandler making himself available for dump off passes or lobs).

An uplifting thing: Three different people will be refereeing on Tuesday. Allow me go off on a bit of a tangent here, but I don’t see why it’s seemingly impossible to criticize officiating while not crying that there’s a bias or conspiracy. There were so many sneering tweets when the Knicks crowd was chanting “THESE REFS SUCK!!!” as if the fans were actually incorrect. They weren’t. Those refs sucked. And yes, many people are indeed dopes who cry that the league is against the Knicks or against Carmelo Anthony or whatever, which I think is nonsense. But that doesn’t also mean the refs were doing their jobs well. There were crap calls both ways that stunted the game’s rhythm. So keep on chanting, MSG faithful.

And yes, as a Knicks fan I hope that whoever refs tomorrow night doesn’t quite allow Roy Hibbert to get away with as much as he did on Sunday. Because while Hibbert did do a damn fine job protecting the rim, he made obvious contact plenty of times, too.

A disconcerting thing: The Knicks didn’t run a lot of iso and still really struggled to put the ball in the hoop. No, really, it’s true. I know whenever the Knicks have a hard time scoring it’s because TOO MUCH HERO BALL FROM MELO AND JR PASS THE BALL BALL MOVEMENT WINS THAT’S WHAT DEBUSSCHERE DID. However, check this out:

See! It’s not as easy as “no iso”. The Knicks are at their best when they vary their offensive sets. They got way iso happy against the Celtics  and it hurt them. The Knicks a good pick-and-roll team, a good 3-point shooting team and yes, a good isolation team. Anthony is one of the best iso players in the game, period. It’s not about never going iso. The Knicks won 54 games in the regular season playing a certain style, one that included clear outs for Melo and Smith sprinkled in among other creative sets. They can’t change now.

An uplifting thing: It took me about 43 minutes to officially despise the Indiana Pacers again. Maybe that’s a disconcerting thing?

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4 thoughts on “Knicks vs. Pacers Game 1: Uplifting things and disconcerting things

  1. Chris..each officiating crew will call the game differently, but these guys grade themselves during the half, and at the end of the game. Do they make mistakes, of course, but they get the majority of these calls right.

    What’s wrong here: the majority of fans do not know the rules. Now, we could argue the validity of the rules, but if you don’t know the rules, you really can’t comment on them.

    When Hibbard jumps straight up like that, people need to understand a few things:
    A-he’s considered the primary defender there, so you can’t expect a ‘Restricted Area’ call.
    B-If he’s deemed the secondary defender, and he jumps, the jump takes him out of the restricted are, so that’s not a ‘Restricted Area’ call.
    C-If the Ref believes the offensive player intiates that contact, he’s going to leave it as a play on.

    Point is, when you look at all those plays, they were called consistently. If Hibbert stays square to the ‘driver’ and goes straight up, don’t expect ANY crew to give him those calls.

    If NY wants to win this series, they can’t hit fewer 3s than Indy. NY led the NBA in 3s made, at 11 per. Indy gave up the fewest, just over 5 per. Indy won that battle yesterday. Compounding that, Indy rebounded at +14 margin, even if NY is hitting 3s, you want them to do better than that.

    How they NYK only lost by 7 yesterday is a mystery, because it wasn’t that close.

    1. I’m sure you do. I also think you’d be very surprised at what you don’t know. It has nothing to do with you not being educated on the rules either. TV doesn’t explain the intricacies of the NBA game, from a rules standpoint. ABC should employ an ex-NBA ref (like Fox and CBS do for the NFL) to explain how the official looks at the play.


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