Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
The Knicks' Game 5 win highlighted two things. First, they need Raymond Felton on the court running off of double screens, anchored by Tyson Chandler or Kenyon Martin. The play puts more pressure on the Pacers' interior defense to step out and contest Felton's midrange shots.
Second, the Knicks need Carmelo Anthony and Chris Copeland on the court at the same time, surrounded by one or two penetrating facilitators. That could be a combination of J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and/or Pablo Prigioni.
Those two factors play into the Knicks forcing the Pacers' bigs outside of the paint and the rest of their defense to scramble to protect the perimeter. Even with Anthony, Copeland and Chandler on the court together, they still have decent size to defend the post. They just need to match the Pacers' physicality, and they did a better job of that on Thursday night. The Knicks still have to limit the Pacers' offensive rebounding and second-chance scoring.
Overall, the Knicks need their best two-tooled lineup in for most of the win-or-go-home Game 6, and Copeland proved he can hold his own defensively down low in Game 5. He had two steals in the contest and was aggressive against David West.
While Kidd and Stoudemire are still valuable -- Kidd for his intangibles and Stoudemire for his low-post scoring -- they might not make the best fit for the Knicks right now. Kidd can't hit a shot -- make that 202 minutes since he last did that, which was in Game 2 against the Celtics. And Stoudemire still hasn't had enough time to adjust defensively. Copeland, at this point, can offer a bigger impact on that end because he can hold his own inside and out. He's had more time to adjust to the playoff schemes.
Do you think Woodson should consider leaving out Kidd and Stoudemire from his main rotation? Leave us your comments below.
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