Thursday, May 16, 2013
W2W4: Knicks vs. Pacers, Game 5
By Jared Zwerling
Win or go home. It's as simple as that.
The Knicks don't have history in their favor, as they are 0-12 when trailing 3-1 in a best-of-7 series. They also haven't had offense in their favor against Indiana -- they're shooting 41.2 percent from the field.
The defense has held its own, but the Knicks will get eliminated in Game 5 if they continue to struggle offensively. Seventy-seven points, their average in their past two losses, won't cut it.
Tipoff is 8 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. Here are three things the Knicks need to bring the series back to Indiana on Saturday night:
1. Rebounding and transition scoring are key. After Game 4's loss, Amar'e Stoudemire said, "We're not getting into our offense fast enough, no pace. [The Pacers] are great in half-court sets defensively." The Knicks need to control the defensive glass -- therefore limiting the Pacers' second-chance opportunities -- and then push the pace. The Knicks need to beat the slower-footed Roy Hibbert down the court.
Of course, rebounding against Indiana is easier said than done. The Pacers have outrebounded the Knicks 186-144.
For the Knicks, it all starts with Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony. They need to be bulldogs down low. The guards also need to be more aggressive boxing out their guys. Paul George and Lance Stephenson, especially, are rangy and athletic, and they need to pushed aside from the paint.
2. Less double coverage on Hibbert? The Knicks' double-teams of Hibbert were not timed well in the first quarter of Game 4. The players collapsed too far and then didn't rotate back out fast enough. That created easy opportunities for the Pacers to swing the ball around the perimeter to the open 3-point shooter.
The Pacers have been dominating with their single-coverage defense. The Knicks need to do more of the same and allow Chandler to prove his individual worth as a former Defensive Player of the Year.
3. A few points from Kidd, maybe? It has been 197 minutes since Jason Kidd last scored. Mike Woodson is going to give Kidd his chance in Game 5, out of respect to the future Hall of Famer and the intangible contributions he made all season, but if the point guard can't buy a bucket, he needs to sit.