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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Opening Tip: Who do you blame most?

By Ian Begley

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Who do you blame most for the Knicks' 3-1 series deficit?

The Knicks will wake up Wednesday morning in a heckuva hole.

Only eight teams in NBA history have climbed back from 3-1 series deficits.

The Knicks are 0-13 historically after falling behind 3-1.

Carmelo Anthony, for one, believes the Knicks can come back.

"I’m very confident that we can do something special here," Anthony said. "I believe that. I still do believe that we are the better team. We’re just not playing at that level right now."

So, who takes the blame for that?

J.R. Smith? Mike Woodson? Anthony himself?

Here's a brief synopsis of each Knicks employee's performance in the series:

CARMELO: Anthony has not shot it well against Indiana. He went 9-for-23 in Game 4 and is 38-for-93 (40.8 percent) in the series. He has been accused of failing to move the ball and find his open teammates. To be fair, though, his teammates haven't hit many of their shots when he does.

If you're of the mind that a team's best players need to play their best in the playoffs, then it's feasible to fault Anthony.

J.R. SMITH: Smith has no problem if you want to blame him for the Knicks' shortcomings.

"I take the blame for this whole series," Smith said after shooting 7-for-22 in Game 4.

The numbers haven't been pretty for Smith. He is just 18-for-64 in the series.

It should be noted that he's played through an illness over the past two games, but Smith himself hasn't used that as an alibi.

"I don't make excuses," he said. "I got to be able to step up and do what I do."

WOODSON: Woodson tinkered with his lineup in Game 4, inserting Kenyon Martin in the starting five in place of Pablo Prigioni. Woodson hoped that Martin, Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony could neutralize the Pacers' size advantage.

Didn't happen.

The Knicks were out rebounded 54-36. Indiana had 16 offensive rebounds and 19 second-chance points. The Pacers outscored the Knicks 36-26 in the paint.

Woodson also curiously buried Prigioni on the bench. He played the 35-year-old rookie for just 3:26. Jason Kidd, on the other hand, played 15:46. He missed both of his shot attempts in Game 4 and hasn't scored in eight games.

So there's plenty of blame to go around for the Knicks.

Question: Who do you blame most for the Knicks 3-1 series deficit?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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