Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the New York Knicks didn’t go the way they hoped for. The Indiana Pacers took advantage of their size and athleticism, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith are not the same shooters they were at the end of the season and it is costing the Knicks playoff wins.
After getting dominated in Game 1 in a 102-95 loss, the Knicks need to win Game 2 if they have any chance of advancing. You don’t want to go into Indiana down 0-2.
Which Knicks team will show up, the one in early April or the one we have seen in the last 3 out of 4 games?
Here’s everything you need to know for Game 2:
When: Tuesday May 6th at 7:00
Where: Madison Square Garden in New York City
Betting Line: New York Knicks (-6)
Key Matchup: Tyson Chandler vs. Roy Hibbert
The Indiana Pacers’ offense revolves around Paul George but if the Knicks want to win, they have to contain Roy Hibbert. Hibbert dominated Chandler who had a very forgettable game with four points and three rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
The two seven-footers are both tough guys but Hibbert is clearly the more polished offensive player. Chandler has to get back in his Defensive Player of the Year form and lock down Hibbert. Chandler has to control the glass and stop the Pacers from getting second chance opportunities.
The entire Pacers starting five scored in double digits in Game 1 along with 16 points off the bench by D.J. Augustin. Raymond Felton has been the only consistent Knick these playoffs and shined in Game 1 with 18 points (8-for-12 from the field) and three assists. Simply put, Anthony and Smith have to drive more and take better shots. Going a combined 14-for-43 is unacceptable and isn’t a winning recipe.
The Knicks don’t match up well with the Pacers at all but I think the Game 1 loss was due to the Knicks scorers being cold. I think Mike Woodson makes the adjustments and the Knicks come out better especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Carmelo has to have a big, but efficient game in the Garden. If he doesn’t it might be the last game at home for the season. The Knicks have to win this game because going into Indiana (30-11 home record) down 0-2 is a very hard task to overcome. It will be a hard fought game and hopefully the shots fall early for New York.
Prediction: New York 96, Indiana 92