The New York Knicks face a must win game in a hostile environment tonight. Between JR Smith’s spreading illness, his lack of ability to hit a jump shot, and Tyson Chandler complaining to the media these are troubling times. Yet, all it takes is one victory to get this to a best of 3 series where the Knicks have home-court advantage. This series isn’t over but how can the Knicks turn it around?
As Always - The Knicks are going to go as far as Carmelo Anthony takes them. Sixteen shots isn’t going to cut it when JR Smith can’t score, Jason Kidd is a non-offensive entity and Ray Felton is struggling. We are due for a “F This, I’m taking over and getting 35-40 points tonight and making sure we win this game” – Is that selfish? Is that more ISO ball? Maybe. But it is what the Knicks need tonight. Anthony is the best player in this series and he has take over at some point. Are you really that confident with him consistently passing up shot opportunities tonight so Kidd or Smith can brick another three?
Where’s Our Center - Tyson Chandler is likely more injured than the team is letting on but the Knicks need more from him on the glass and on defense. The Knicks cannot survive Roy Hibbert creating this many second chance points and dominating Chandler so thoroughly. In Game 2, the Knicks kept Hibbert to 6 points and 5 offensive rebounds. In Game 3, he had 24 points and 8 offensive rebounds. Chandler, Kenyon Martin…even Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire need to do everything possible to have Hibbert’s numbers come closer to mirroring Game 2.
X-Factor - Who is it going to be? The Knicks need somebody to step up with a big offensive game to support Carmelo. Is it going to be Pablo Prigioni hitting a few threes? Iman Shumpert giving 15 points? Ray Felton coming up with a 20-25 point performance? It needs to come from somewhere. Could we see Steve Novak or Chris Copeland back in the rotation tonight? Amare Stoudemire had 7 points in 9 minutes on Saturday, don’t be surprise to see him pushed to 12-14 minutes tonight in hopes that he can give 8-10 points.