You never want to overreact to Game 1 of a seven game series. Yet, there is an inevitable reality that tonight’s game is a near do or die situation for the New York Knicks. You can’t blow both of your home games and expect to claw back from 2-0 deficit against a physical and savvy Indiana Pacers team, when they are heading home for games 3 and 4. The Knicks put forth a frustrating effort on Sunday. Frustrating because they appeared lethargic, whiny and looked generally outclassed by a team they are better then. Nobody should have been content with knocking off a crappy Celtics team in 6 games. The Knicks have no excuses to see their season ended by this Pacers team. Are they up for the challenge tonight and how can they adjust to their exposed issues from Game 1?
Perimeter Looks - Indiana’s defense is going to sink into the paint and allow open three pointers for Iman Shumpert with the first unit and Jason Kidd with the second unit. At this point, Kidd has gone five straight games without scoring and isn’t showing much of a desire to shoot at all. Isn’t it time to give Chris Copeland a little more burn on the perimeter? He knocked down a pair of threes on Sunday and won’t hesitate to take the open looks he’s given. The Knicks need more scoring from their supporting cast until JR Smith wakes up from his now week long haze of infuriating mediocrity.
And What About Those Guys - Smith and Carmelo Anthony, you know the two guys who carried the Knicks offense on their back all season? When does this slump end? Barreling into Roy Hibbert and hoping for fouls didn’t work on Sunday, so let’s hope both adjust accordingly along with finding some rhythm to their jump shots. You can analyze every other issue in this series all you want but the Knicks aren’t getting by the Pacers if these two don’t start playing better immediately.
Bounce-Back? - Tyson Chandler was pretty awful in Game 1 of the Celtics series but by Game 6 appeared back to his usual self. Tyson Chandler was flat-out awful in Game 1 of the Pacers series and the Knicks can’t afford him to take 5 games to get back near 100% of his regular production. If Chandler is healthy, you’d think he’d be in line for a nice bounce-back performance after having Roy Hibbert eat his lunch in Game 1 on his home court.
The Joey Crawford Show - Get your Twitter complaints out now and just remember tonight is about Joey…it is always about Joey.
Desperation - Let’s hope to see the Knicks come out playing with a little desperation tonight. No more Lance Stephenson being allowed to grab 13 rebounds. No more DJ Augustin being given 87 wide open threes. No more incredulous looks at the official every 2.8 seconds. Just handle your business, hit your rotations on defense, keep the ball moving on offense and beat a team you are better than on your home court.