The New York Knicks didn’t look ready for the second round of the NBA Playoffs today. Maybe they were out with JR Smith at the 40/40 Club until 2AM last night. Maybe they thought they were still playing a team led by a dead-legged Paul Pierce, Terrence Williams and Avery Bradley. Whatever the reason, the Knicks were beat up by the Indiana Pacers who played with more energy, more physicality and more (insert positive adjective here) than a lethargic Knicks team.
There was plenty of complaining about the officials from Knicks fans and Knicks players. Were there some shaky calls? Yes. Was it the reason the Knicks lost? Absolutely not. The Knicks can complain to the officials all they want but if they can’t keep their composure, can’t defend and their two leading scorers can’t hit a shot, they aren’t winning any games.
Carmelo Anthony was 10/28 from the field, missed countless open shots and was consistently denied at the basket by Roy Hibbert, who put a clown suit on Tyson Chandler today. Chandler only managed 4 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks compared to 14 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 assists from Hibbert.
JR Smith couldn’t fill in for Anthony’s poor shooting as he continued his dreadful slump with a 4/15 night from the field. Simply put the Knicks aren’t advancing if Anthony and Smith don’t get it together on offense. Despite Raymond Felton (18 points) and Iman Shumpert (11 points) continuing to play well, there isn’t enough scoring threats spread throughout the roster to cover for them shooting so poorly.
Jason Kidd put up another goose egg and now hasn’t scored in 5 straight games. Chris Copeland did show signs of life, hitting a pair of three pointers but the Knicks need more overall production from their bench still.
Indiana put forth a gutsy effort today and was boosted by a huge game from DJ Augustin off the bench, who finished with 16 points. Every Pacers starter was in double figures and the Knicks allowed Lance Stephenson to grab 13 (!) rebounds on them. The Pacers are going to play physical. The Knicks should be prepared for that by now…clearly they weren’t.
Considering how bad Indiana has been on the road and how good they’ve been at home, you can bet that Tuesday night is a MUST win for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. They’ve already lost home-court advantage but now need to salvage a split before heading to Indiana this Saturday night.