GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- While Knicks coach Mike Woodson's audible to start bigger in Game 4 was a worthy attempt in a playoff series full of adjustments, it didn't matter in the end. The Knicks still got outrebounded 54-36 by the Pacers, who lead the East semifinal series 3-1.
"That [smaller] lineup has been great for us for two, three months, and I went away from it [Tuesday] night," the coach said. "There were a lot of things playing into why I did what I did, but that lineup has been good and there's a strong chance we could go right back to that lineup."
That lineup pushed the Knicks past Boston and helped them get their only win in this series (a 105-79 blowout in Game 2). Two of the differences in that game were the Knicks' perimeter defense and pushing a faster pace. The Knicks have been running into trouble when they slow down their tempo and allow the Pacers to do what they do best: defend half-court sets. The Knicks have not had enough primary- and secondary-break opportunities.
"IT TAKES ONE GAME TO CHANGE EVERYTHING": That's how J.R. Smith feels heading into Game 5.
"We've just got to keep fighting," he said. "This series isn't over."
Smith has shot 26-for-91 (28.6 percent) in his past six games, but he said he'll continue to be aggressive.
"My confidence is still high," he said. "Just get shots up and stay the course, play my game."
Iman Shumpert said the overall morale of the team is "better," especially with Game 5 at the Garden, where the Knicks lost only 10 games during the regular season.
"Guys are getting shots up, guys are making shots," he said. "I think just being back at home and seeing that ball go in for us, it will do us a lot of good."
The Knicks can't rush or hesitate on offense. The Pacers' defense has affected their confidence and dictated their shot selection, which is why quicker penetration and more ball movement is needed.
"They're playing team defense, they're trying to contest shots," Shumpert said. "But a lot of those shots that we have open, we've got to make, and that's the difference."
Shumpert said that even if guys miss shots, they can't let that affect their defense. That especially goes for Anthony and Smith. They're extreme rhythm players who fuel off of made shots to focus more on making stops.
NO SORENESS FOR SHUMP: Shumpert said he felt "fine" on Wednesday and in Game 4. Entering the contest, he had been experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.
"I didn't feel [pain]; I just missed shots," he said. "Good looks, just missed shots."
J-KIDD, JUST FINE: It's been 197 game minutes since Jason Kidd last scored in the playoffs. But Woodson recognizes his value beyond points.
"I will never kick J-Kidd to the curb, man," he said. "Kidd has been a positive for our club, our franchise, these players that play around him, and we all still believe in Kidd. He still does some of the intangibles that might not show up in terms of scoring the ball to help you win."
TOO FOUL: The Pacers outscored the Knicks 25-18 in the second quarter, during which Woodson wasn't pleased with his team's foul calls.
"I just thought last night we got into a shoving war in terms of unnecessary fouls, and that was just ridiculous," he said. "That's what put us behind in the second quarter -- the shoving and pushing and technicals."
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