The Knicks are working together better offensively than Game 1, as nearly three players are in double-figure scoring: Iman Shumpert has a team-high 11 points, Carmelo Anthony has 10 and Raymond Felton has nine. But the Pacers are right there, shooting even better (54.5 to 48.8 percent). The Knicks played well defensively in the first half, but they allowed the Pacers to go on an 8-0 run to end the first half.
Here are five other observations at halftime:
1. Felton's continued efficiency. In Game 1, the point guard was 8-for-12 from the field. So far tonight, he's 4-for-5. In pick-and-rolls, he hit jump shots and took it all the way inside for layups. He also knocked down a 3-pointer. Felton was also aggressive on the glass, finishing with two offensive boards.
2. Shumpert's all-around playmaking. Paul George who? Shumpert has taken one of the best wing defenders in the NBA to school. Shump went behind his back for a layup and then hit a jump shot in his eye. Shump also had a 3-pointer, a highlight-worthy offensive putback dunk and a backdoor layup. Defensively, he was a ball hawk guarding George and he helped set strong traps.
3. Kenyon Martin stepping up. Once again, Tyson Chandler is nonexistent with two points and one rebound, but his backup is playing big. Make that two blocks for Martin, and he's taking advantage of the space the Pacers are giving him to shoot. He has a jump shot, a blow-by drive and layup.
4. Offensive variations. After Game 1's loss, Mike Woodson talked about implementing some new offensive sets to help Anthony and J.R. Smith free up more easily. Those plays were evident in Game 2, and they worked. A few of them involved quick pop-up screens for Melo, and cross screens for Smith to get him open down the baseline. The Pacers want the Knicks' stars to shoot contested jump shots, so Woodson has looked to counter that by getting his guys closer to the basket to score.
In addition to the new half-court sets, the Knicks are doing a better job moving without the ball. Two examples: In the second quarter, Smith faked out the defensive-minded George and went backdoor on him for a layup; and then later when Jason Kidd had the ball on the wing, Shumpert cut through the middle of the lane for a layup.
5. 148 minutes. That's how long it's been since Kidd scored his last points in the playoffs. They came in the first quarter of Game 2 against the Celtics, when he nailed a 3-pointer.
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