Thursday, May 16, 2013
Halftime Report: Knicks 40, Pacers 34
By Jared Zwerling
The Knicks lead the Pacers 40-34 at the break. Here are five observations from the half:
1. Intensity is high. On one play in the second quarter, D.J. Augustin drove it in on a breakaway and J.R. Smith skied high for a big block. Later, Tyson Chandler contested Lance Stephenson mid-air on a dunk attempt and gave him a hard foul. Overall, the Knicks are playing more aggressive than their two previous games (both losses), and they're also zoned in on the defensive end.
2. Improved pace. One time in the first quarter, Iman Shumpert grabbed a defensive rebound, pushed the ball and passed it to Raymond Felton for a fast-break layup. Then in the second quarter, Chris Copeland collected a defensive rebound, dished to Smith who quickly dribbled the ball up the court, worked off of a Amar'e Stoudemire screen and knocked down the shot. These two plays represented the Knicks' ability to get their hands on more misses and play more of an up-tempo style game. It's something they haven't done in the series, allowing the Pacers to dictate the games defensively in half-court sets.
3. "I Get Buckets!" That's Copeland's nickname for a reason. He has injected instant offense all season long, and that's what he's done tonight, scoring five points in seven minutes. He got to the foul line off a low-post move and hit a 3-pointer working off of a pick-and-pop with Pablo Prigioni. With Copeland fueling the Knicks' offense in the second quarter -- he started the period to replace Anthony -- the team built a 32-24 lead midway through.
4. Pacers' offensive rebounding keeping them around. They have four more offensive boards (eight) and six more points in the paint (18) than the Knicks. In the first quarter, David West out-hustled the Knicks on the offensive glass and converted two putback layups. Then in the second, Paul George followed his own shot, and with Stoudemire forgetting to box out, the Pacers forward grabbed his own miss and dished down low to West for the bucket. The Pacers' offensive rebounding and second-chance scoring has been a major difference in this series. The Knicks need to limit these in the second half.
5. 202 minutes, 0 points.Jason Kidd still hasn't scored since Game 2 in the Celtics series. Kidd had a great opportunity in the first half, but he missed a fast-break layup.