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May 3, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jared Zwerling

Jared Zwerling
  (12:01 PM)

Hey guys, let's get this chat going ...

Deven (New York, NY)

Do you really believe if the league hadn't suspended J.R. Smith, the Knicks would have swept the Cs?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:04 PM)

I think it was definitely a good possibility. The Knicks had great momentum, and now the Celtics have it. Smith hadn't missed a game all season that was out his control (only two for rest), and so the Knicks clearly struggled without his 18 points.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that the New York Knicks will beat the Celtics Tonight?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:06 PM)

That's the biggest question of the day. I still see this game being low scoring, as the others, so the two biggest keys will be the Knicks' backcourt defense to lead to scoring in transition, and the Celtics' getting in foul trouble. I also think Kevin Garnett is a factor. He's only had one day of rest, and he's been playing through pain in this series.

jim va.beach [via mobile]

Hey jared. How bout them knicks?? With the doom and gloom in high gear, you no them better than me. What team will show up tonight.the rattled one, or the cocky one? Thanks.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:10 PM)

Well, first of all, let's keep in mind what Chandler said today: That his Mavericks who won the championship in 2011 did the funeral thing before every close-out game. Teams across all pro sports do things internally for self-confidence or whatever. It's not just a "Knicks being cocky" thing. I personally think it was blown out of proportion because the Knicks lost. As Woodson said today, "No one said this series was going to be easy." I think most experts predicted the Knicks in 5 or 6 (I said 5), and now tonight is an opportunity for them to prove those experts right. The Celtics are a fabulous defensive team, and give them credit -- they've made Melo work. Now the Knicks need to close out. I think Melo/Smith and the team's seasoned veterans will come ready to play. They've been in this situation before.

Eddie (Hoboken) [via mobile]

Time to hit the panic button?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:11 PM)

No. The Knicks have won three times in Boston this season (including Game 3). After a loss tonight, though, yes.

Gary (NYC)

Jared, What do you forsee for the Knicks tonight? I think that if they move the ball and take it to the basket on offense as well as pressure the ball on defense- they win! Thoughts?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:16 PM)

As I just said, I don't expect a high-scoring game. I think the Knicks' backcourt defense needs to be at its best, which it was in Games 1 through 3. The Knicks' guards controlled the tempo and scored in transition. For Melo, he needs to find his points more in the flow of the offense. A big factor that's been overlooked is how he wants to beat Boston by himself. James White told me, "He takes it personal with the Celtics." He needs to force less shots. The Knicks' increased ball movement and screening will help him find better catch-and-shoot opportunities. Obviously Smith has to play well, and Chandler will be key. He hasn't yet looked 100 percent in this series. Felton should get his. Maybe Copeland will play and generate instant offense? Woodson said today that the rookie could play with Novak out (back spasms). Woodson needs to mix things up more.

Kevin (Raleigh, NC)

If Amare is totally cleared for round 2 how much of a role do you see him playing against the bigger more physical Indiana team with Hibbert and West

Jared Zwerling
  (12:20 PM)

Not cleared. He hasn't yet taken contact in scrimmages. The team believes second round, so we'll see. West would give Amare more trouble with his offensive versatility, being able to play outside as well. Hibbert plays more in the low post, so that could benefit Amare not having to move around as much. I think Amare's low-post scoring will give the Knicks another dimension. They need some of that kind of scoring now. Perhaps Copeland tonight will add some down-low scoring.

Ozair (NJ)

Jared, read an article about the ridiculous Knicks PR policy, how tough is it really to get interviews with players and staff?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:22 PM)

I have no problems with the access. It's a great locker room, and most of the guys are approachable. I have good professional relationships with many of them.

Les (East Windsor, NJ)

With the Knicks struggling for offense, why not give Copeland some 2nd Q minutes? Teams like the Celtics (and Heat) know how to defend Novak, rendering him virtually useless.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:24 PM)

Woodson said Copeland could play tonight. Woodson favors a two-or three-guard lineup, so that leaves out guys like Novak and Copeland. But with some extra offense needed tonight to help the Knicks close it out, Copeland could be that guy.

J.R. (Ridgefield, CT)

Is everything OK w/ Copeland's shoulder? I'm surprised they haven't looked to him to help out offensively. Or is it his D that keeps him from getting minutes this series?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:24 PM)

He's fine. It comes down to matchups and defense. Woodson addressed this today.

Bryan (Montclair, NJ)

Do you think the shoulder is going to be an issue for Melo?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:24 PM)

No, Melo said he's fine. Same with Woodson.

Casey (CO)

If the knicks to move on, do they have any chance against the pacers

Jared Zwerling
  (12:27 PM)

Yes. The Knicks can beat them in similar ways they took three games from the Celtics. This series so far has showed that even though the Knicks haven't hit 3-pointers, which was a huge part of their offense during the regular season, they still have found ways to win. And it's started with their defense. The Knicks got away from their intensity and defensive rotations in Game 5. If they can bring that back in Game 6, that will be big. Pierce and Garnett are only coming off one day of rest, and they've been asked to do a lot more in this series. Some of the Celtics writers think a lack of rest will hurt both of those guys' play, especially Garnett who's been playing through pain in the series.

Kevin (Raleigh, NC)

What should we expect from Amare going forward if he is fully cleared to play and is healthy do you expect him to be rusty at the beginning or come back with his full rhythm like his last few games before the injury

Jared Zwerling
  (12:29 PM)

If he's cleared for the second round ... Woodson said he's hoping for that, but Amare still hasn't taken contact in scrimmaging yet. He'll have to likely clear a few days/week of that before the team feels comfortable putting him back out there. The second round does seem realistic by watching him run up and down the court and work on low-post moves against the assistant coaches. That's where he'll provide the biggest impact. The Knicks have needed another low-post threat to reduce the isolation and increased the ball movement.

Parvej (Queens, NY )

Will Novak play tonight? Or will Copeland get some mins?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:32 PM)

Novak is a gametime decision, but Woodson suggested he likely won't. Woodson said Copeland could get minutes. He wasn't committal about extending or shortening his rotations. Copeland's playing time will depend on matchups.

Frank (New Orleans)

KG is standing in the way of the Knicks by grabbing 72 boards in 5 games. If the Knicks can contain KG on the boards can they win game 6?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:35 PM)

Also offensively. He hit some big shots down the stretch in Game 5. He's recently avoided foul trouble, so he's been able to play more minutes. The key with him is: How healthy will he be tonight? He's coming off one day of rest and he's been playing through the pain during the series.

John McCain (Arizona)

The Knicks wont win unless Melo gets at least 5 assists? T or F ?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:37 PM)

False. Some passes he makes facilitate another great pass, and obviously Melo wouldn't get credit for the first one.

Bob (NY)

What kind of vibe is around the team? Leaderless and timid? Even if they advance this Celtics team stinks and blowing two close out games after a 3-0 lead is not a good sign.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:40 PM)

They realize there is a sense of urgency, but they're confident. While they didn't think it would come easy against the Celtics, some of the guys felt they would eventually wear down Pierce and Garnett, who have had to take on more offensively without Rondo.

Frank (New Orleans)

Why do the Knicks run so much Melo-isolation in game situations? Is Carmelo still uncomfortable with pick and roll offense?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:42 PM)

Both teams are playing great defense and have taken away 3-point shots, so the Knicks are resorting to finishing half-court sets by giving the ball to Melo. Ball movement and 3-point shooting for the Knicks need to improve in Game 6.

Burrr (Madison Avenue)

Jared, can we get a J.R. Smith sneaker twitter update from you later? We need to know what kind of J.R. we'll be expecting tonight. I'm crossing my fingers for white/cement Jordan 4's.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:42 PM)

I'll take a look ...

Forrest (NY)

do you need an intern?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:43 PM)

We could all use one in this business :) ...

Steve (New York) [via mobile]

Will Melos rep ever recover if he and the knicks lose this series?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:45 PM)

It would take a major hit, no question. He's had a bunch of first-round exits. Another? Oh boy ...

Kevin (Raleigh, NC)

Should Knicks start Kenyon alongside Melo and Tyson for the bigger Indiana team, Melo going up against West screams foul trouble?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:47 PM)

Woodson has entertained the question all season, and it hasn't happened yet. So it won't. Melo at the 4 is the foundation of the Knicks' offensive system. Let's put this question to bed.

D-Bone (NY)

Is this the Knicks best shot with JR leaving in the off-season, cap trouble, and further aging on the horizon?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:49 PM)

His value has taken a recent hit. Overall, he won't be a big money-maker in the offseason. He's at most worth $6, $7 million a year. He's still not valued high, and I've talked to several agents and GMs directly about this. It all depends what happens in the playoffs.

Burrr (Madison Avenue)

The Knicks seem to go on big runs during a game (excellent ball movement on offense and aggressive defensive pressure) and then all of a sudden they stop doing what's been working. The ball stops with isolation sets for Melo and J.R. and they get very relaxed on defense. Why are we seeing such inconsistency and lack of killer instinct to put the Celtics away instead of letting them claw right back?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:51 PM)

Defense, man. You're over-looking the fact that the Celtics are a great defensive team. They have big bodies and play physical, and Doc Rivers is a great adjustment coach. It's not just the Knicks playing poorly. But Woodson needs to out-coach Rivers and make sure that offense remains consistent in Game 6, to your point.

mk (albuquerque)

I think Melo/Smith and the team's seasoned veterans will come ready to play. They've been in this situation before.and they've failed, right? at least melo and smith. neither have ever been out of first round. not to be a troll, but it seems worth mentioning that winning this series will require changing the narrative for some of the key guys involved.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:52 PM)

Agreed. Melo has been a regular first-round exit, so tonight will be key.

Ozair (NJ)

Game by game, and for this series I've felt like Raymond Felton has the MVP, I'd like to see the ball more in Felton's hands with the dribble penetration vs Iso-Melo. Also I think when Felton is assisting teammates, Melo benefits more from it, letting the game come to him. Any chance this was discussed in the Knicks locker room?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:56 PM)

Felton has taken advantage of the Celtics' bigger backcourt. The matchups will change if the Knicks move on, so it will be interesting to see Felton's progression.

Bob (NY)

Is Chandler going to be better health-wise as the playoffs progress, or is he going to be limited throughout the duration of the playoffs (however long or short that may be)? He clearly looks like he's playing hurt right now.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:59 PM)

He's not 100 percent. His conditioning is still not there yet. He said he has no more pain in his neck, which is a positive.

Jared Zwerling
  (1:00 PM)

Hey guys, thanks for your time! Hit me on Twitter @JaredZwerling if you have an additional question or thought.