It wasn’t just salt on a rim that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Knicks fans on Cinco de Mayo. After an ugly final three games against the Boston Celtics in Round 1, the Knicks kept their rocky play going in Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. The Knicks lost 102-95 in a sloppy game where Melo shot 10-28 and J.R. Smith shot 4-15, however in Game 2, “The Game of Adjustments” (The more important game) The Knicks showed why they finished ahead of the Pacers and why they are the team to beat this series.
Mike Woodson made sure that the team made improvements containing the NBA’s Most Improved Player, Paul George on the perimeter and Roy Hibbert down low. The Knicks responded to these adjustments and made big plays on the defensive end. They were forcing turnovers and turning them into points which allowed them to rely less on the three-pointer, which for this “Live by the three, Die by the three” team has been dying of late.
Towards the end of the second half the Pacers made a run which brought them within 5 at halftime but it was all for nothing as the Knicks caught fire making an incredible 30-2 run over the closing minutes of the third quarter extending into the fourth. Anthony who has been struggling came alive during this run scoring 16 of the 30 points including an and-1 dunk that caused MSG to erupt. Everything was going the Knicks way during this run and it will hopefully carry over as a momentum boost for Game 3 in Indiana despite the 3 day break.
Knicks MVP – Iman Shumpert – Most of the Knicks players performed at a high level during their 30-2 run but it was Shumpert that kept them ahead early on. His smart offensive play and tenacious defensive presence on Paul George ignited their success.
Knicks LVP – Jason Kidd – Kidd has not scored in 6 games and even his decision-making looked off. He made some questionable passes and even dished the ball when he was wide open from behind the arc. He’s ice cold but you cannot bring the stroke back with a clear fear to fail.
Play of the Game – Iman Shumpert with not just the play of the night, a top play of the season, catching an offensive rebound mid-flight, cocking it back and throwing it down in an incredible display of athleticism. Just think…Derrick Rose and Shumpert tore their ACLs on the same day last season.
Turning Point – Melo’s dunk plus the foul fueled the 30-2 run for the Knicks. It was also the start of his efficient scoring during the final run, something that his game has been lacking the past few games.
Key Stat – Turnovers: The Indiana Pacers had 21 and the New York Knicks had just 6. The Knicks scored 32 points off Indiana’s turnovers.
Looking Ahead – Game 3 takes place Saturday, May 11, at 8:00 PM (ET) at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana. Indiana went 3-0 at home in the first round against the Atlanta Hawks. Game 3 might also include the return of Amar’e Stoudemire so stay tuned with us as we keep you posted on the latest with STAT and his possible return.