Notebook: Knicks prep for Pacers
May, 4, 2013
By Jared Zwerling and Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsThe Pacers finished off the Hawks in six. They'll be at MSG for Game 1 on Sunday.BOSTON -- From one top defensive team to another.
The second-seeded New York Knicks will meet the third-seeded Indiana Pacers (the third) in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 ET, after both won their first-round series 4-2.
"We'll go back and break down the Pacers tonight and have a game plan in place when the players come in tomorrow for practice," Mike Woodson said after the Knicks' Game 6 victory over the Boston Celtics. "And then we'll be off and running on Sunday to start the second round."
While the Celtics and Pacers both excel at making stops, where the Pacers differentiate themselves is with their deeper frontcourt, point-guard depth and increased length and athleticism defensively, especially on the perimeter. In addition, Paul George has emerged as one of the best swingmen in the NBA.
"We split with them during the regular season. They're a well-coached team. They're a very talented team," Woodson said. "We worked our butts off this year to host the first two rounds on our home court in front of our wonderful fans, so I'm just going to take it one game at a time and tell our guys we've got to take it one game at a time and see what happens."
Courtesy of the Empire State buildingNew York was all about the Knicks on Friday night.
At times, Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin will need to play side by side to contend with the Pacers' size. Even Marcus Camby could get minutes. The question is, Could Amar'e Stoudemire provide a boost inside? Woodson has made no guarantees when the power forward will return.
"I don't think he's at that stage yet of playing in a game," the coach said before Game 6.
Chandler's conditioning: After his nine-point, 12-rebound effort in Game 6 against Boston, Chandler uttered five words that Knicks fans from Manhattan to Middletown have been waiting to hear.
"I felt 100 percent tonight," the big man said after the Knicks' Game 6 win.
Chandler had struggled with his conditioning earlier in the series. He was scoreless in Game 1 and had a total of 10 rebounds in 42 minutes in the first two games. Chandler's conditioning was off because he missed 16 of the Knicks' final 20 regular-season games with a small bulging disk in his neck.
"Absolutely the best I've felt in the playoffs," Chandler said. "Tonight was the first time I came in the game feeling 100 percent and being able to go through my regular routine."
Melo fellow: Carmelo Anthony picked the right time to snap out of his shooting funk. Melo had missed a career-high 19 straight 3-pointers -- including his first five attempts on Friday -- before he hit one with 1:43 to play in Game 6.
It might have been one of the biggest makes of his career. The 3-pointer gave the Knicks a nine-point edge and put an end to the Celtics' comeback attempt. (Boston rallied from 26 down to cut the lead to four with 3:32 to play.) After the game, a reporter informed Anthony that he had missed 19 straight.
"Nineteen? Damn!" he said with a smile.
Empire state of mind: The Empire State Building was lit up in orange and blue on Friday night to commemorate the Knicks' win.
You can follow Ian Begley and Jared Zwerling on Twitter.