The Knicks and Pacers have been able to take advantage of the other team's defensive schemes by shooting a high percentage (the Pacers shot 51.4 percent from the floor; the Knicks shot 46.3 percent). But the Knicks are going to need more from Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith in the second half if they want to have a chance to win. They're only a combined 6-for-19 from the field.
Here are five other main observations at the half:
1. More offensive balance: Raymond Felton has continued to play well, scoring a game-high 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Overall, the Knicks have carried over their effective Game 6 strategy against the Celtics, which has been to not be so predictable giving the ball to Anthony. Pablo Prigioni and Iman Shumpert have also gotten good touches, and they're making plays.
2. Prigioni's pick-and-roll playmaking: At the start of the second quarter, with Anthony resting, the Knicks turned to Prigioni to create more scoring opportunities off of pick-and-rolls. The Argentine didn't disappoint, as he was very patient and timely navigating screens. He connected with Chris Copeland on a 3-pointer -- his first points of the playoffs -- and Kenyon Martin for a layup.
3. Shumpert's increased role: He's taking more control in the offense, even bringing up the ball up as a point guard. In half-court sets, he's been able to take his man off of the dribble and score with his jump shot. He also had a 3-pointer, which he's been routinely hitting lately. Defensively, he's made Paul George work for every shot.
4. Knicks' interior defense: Tyson Chandler had a strong first quarter, blocking two shots to go along with a dunk from a Felton drive down the baseline. He's looked more lively as the playoffs have continued. In addition, Kenyon Martin had a blocked shot.
5. More offensive rebounds needed: The Knicks only have one (from Anthony), while the Pacers have four. Two of those led to points -- a Lance Stephenson dunk and a George 3-pointer. Size mismatches are in favor of the Pacers, so the Knicks guards will need to step up more. On one possession, Felton grabbed a defensive rebound off of a Stephenson missed 3-pointer and pushed the ball all the way down himself for the fast-break opportunities. The Knicks need scoring opportunities like that. Later in the second quarter, the Pacers controlled the tempo, which will be a key difference in what should be a low-scoring, defensive series.
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