Here are three quick hits from the first half of the Knicks-Pacers game:
1.TEMPO: The Pacers want to push tempo, particularly with a bench unit featuring a George Hill-Leandro Barbosa backcourt. The Knicks, under Mike Woodson, have begun to slow down, averaging three fewer possessions per game than under Mike D'Antoni. The first half was an uneven mix with a half-court game occasionally interrupted by spurts of up-and-down play. When the action slowed down, if favored the Knicks. When the tempo picked up, the Pacers surged.
The first half was a high-scoring, but relatively slow-paced game.
2. DOES SIZE MATTER?: With the absence of Amare Stoudemire and Jared Jeffries, the Knicks are forced to "go small", starting Carmelo Anthony at the 4. The Pacers sought to exploit the matchup early, using post action on the first eight possessions. However, it met with mixed success, and the methodical play allowed the Knicks to get out of the gate quicker and take an early lead, but the Pacers got five first quarter offensive rebounds.. On the whole, the difference in size seemed neither to help nor hurt New York. We'll see if that stays true as the game wears on.
3. 3-POINT BARRAGE: New York hit 8 of their 14 threes, and that provided foundation for the 59-51 halftime lead. In a game that's increasingly look like a repeat of the Knicks previous win in Banker's Life Fieldhouse on March 17th, it's important that they use this weapon prudently. Still, 24 minutes into the game, the Knicks are pointed in the right direction for a win.