Tag: New York Knicks
In a best of seven game series all it takes is for one of the contenders to win 4 games. The Pacers were playing at the Madison Square Garden, going on against a team that was against the ropes. Let´s consider that down 3-1 for the series the Knicks were 0-12 in playoffs games in that same scenario. This time around, however, the Knicks played their home court advantage card right, and behind the offensive prowess of their star Carmelo Anthony, and his 28 points and 6 rebounds, they managed to take a 85-75 win at home. It was not a pretty game by any stretch of the imagination, truth be said, the injured and somewhat shorthanded Pacers had to deal with a couple of absentees and some foul trouble. But they managed to cope well, despite not closing the series in game 5. The Knicks are not playing better, that´s clear. But they are playing harder, and under these circumstances, that might be just what they need to keep on winning.
Now, next game will be played on Saturday at Indiana, and the Knicks are going to have to do all they can to win this one on the road. If they do managed to return from a 3-1 deficit, win on Saturday and return the series to the Madison Squre Garden on Monday for game seven, and beat the Pacers once again, they would become only the 9th team in NBA history to come back from such a deficit. Nnow, in order to get that result, the Knicks will have to rely heavily on a brilliant performance from their bench. Last night the Knicks got plenty of production from their reserves J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland whom each had 13 points.
The Knicks showed some grit, plenty of courage to make up for some not too good basketball skills. It didn’t matter much, right now they will go ahead and take a win however they may. “I was totally impressed because we met the challenge,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said to the press in the postgame conference. “I think as a coach you come into games like this and you want to see who’s going to step up and make plays, and I thought we did that tonight. We were the better team in terms of doing that.”
The Pacers got plenty of production from their starts. Paul George would go on to finish the night with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists. They had to cope with the absence of without point guard George Hill because of a concussion. Playing without their main play creator would cost the Pacers greatly. Without Hill, the playmaking was left to D.J. Agustin, who, to be fair, finished the night with 12 points but had no assists. The team as a whole had to share the ball a little too much and they ended up making 19 very costly turnovers. David West had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who are trying to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004.
The Indiana Pacers stayed true to their game and won at home to take a 2-1 lead in the best of seven Eastern Conference semifinals. With a phenomenal performances from Roy Hibbert and Paul George, the Pacers took control of the game early on and never gave the Knicks a chance to even fight for it. Hibbert would go on to finish the night with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while George, although a little slow offensively, was a complete nightmare for the Knicks with his spectacular defense. George struggled to create offensive opportunities but still finished the game with 14 points. He was a bit shy of a triple-double as he would sing off the night with eight rebounds and eight assists. But it would be his defensive heroics that would ultimately give the Pacers and strategic advantage to secure a 82-71 win at home.
With this win, Indiana now has emerged from an embarrassing 26-point loss to New York in the Madison Square Garden last week and proved that the Knicks are going to have to bring forth something more than the return of the banged-up Amare Stoudemire to the court. In his return from injury, Stoudemire looked very rusty and was unable to give the Knicks an edge. He would finish the night making just 3-of-8 eight shots to finish the match with seven points and two rebounds. The Knicks star Carmelo Anthony never really had much space to do his magic. Still, he did what he could and scored 21 points. Not bad, but certainly not in par with his playoffs scoring average of 29.3 points per game.
The biggest issue here is that Melo went cold in the fourth quarter, when his team needed him most and finished with only two points and no baskets in the final 12 minutes. As if that was not enough he was held to 6 of 16 shooting from the floor. And yet, we have to acknowledge that this was in part because of the Pacers ferocious defense. J.R. Smith once again also had very little production. He went 4 of 12 and scored nine points. Still, as a whole, he is only 11 of 42 from the field and his shooting woes continue. The Knicks attempted only 3 three-pointers all night long and were held to their worst scoring game in this postseason.
It was clear from the start that the Pacers defense proved to be too much for the Knicks last night “Offensively, we just didn’t have anything,” said New York’s head coach Mike Woodson in the postgame press conference. “I thought defensively, we hung in there and did what we had had to do, but we just didn’t have any offensive pop and we have to figure that out.” For starters they have to find a way to get more open shots and how to fight a little better against the best rebounding team in the league. Indiana limited the Knicks to 35.2 percent shooting from the floor and forced 15 turnovers. And they had a 53-40 rebounding that ultimately gave the Pacers a 20-10 advantage in second chance points.
Sometimes, they say, the best offense is a though defense. No, actually, it goes the other way around. Well, forget the fact that you have the NBA scoring champion in your line-up, because even if Carmelo Anthony is having a good day, the Indiana Pacers defense can be a very difficult wall to overcome. Not only is the team physically bigger and stronger, the Pacers walked into the Madison Square Garden feeling good about themselves and that easily translated into a solid performance both in the offense and defense to take a 102-95 win over the New York Knicks. The Pacers were guided by center Roy Hibbert who finished the night with 14 points and 8 rebounds to spoil what could have been the Knicks first second round game since 2000, but truth be said, the Knicks never really had a chance.
Carmelo Anthony got into foul trouble early in the game, and without missing a beat, the Pacers defense kept on putting him in the spot. Sure he finished the night with 27 points and 11 rebounds, but he was banged up all night long and shot only 10 of 28 from the field with the little space that the Pacers gave him in any play. Point guard Raymond Felton had 18 points and 3 assists, but he knew quite well what the Pacers were all about last night. “Right now they’re just being really physical with him, they’re trying to bang him, they’re trying to frustrate him,” Felton said about the way the Pacers tried to take a couple blows at Melo. “But we’re going to be fine, he’s going to be fine.” They better be fine, as it really goes up hill for teams in the playoffs that lose the first game of the series at home.
David West scored 20 points and Paul George added 19 for the Pacers, who outrebounded the Knicks 44-30. D.J. Augustin had 16 points for the Pacers who managed to open up a 16-point lead in the third quarter when the Knicks were forced to sit down Carmelo Anthony who had gone into foul trouble early after the halftime break.
Shooting guard J.R. Smith has certainly seen better days in his career. Ever since that nasty elbow play with the Boston Celtics, he hasn’t been able to come back. Sure, he finished off the night with 17 points and 5 rebounds. But let’s not forget that those 17 points came from 4 of 15 shooting. Still, the Knicks hope that the rest of their team is going to be healthy before things get really complicated in the series. It seems as if neither Amare Stoudemire, who is recovering from knee surgery, nor Steve Novak, who is suffering with back spasms, are going to be back for game two at the Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. So a win on game two is a must for New York. That way, they can get some rest, have the series even at 1 game apiece before going to Indiana on Saturday. Perhaps by then, both Stoudemire and Novak are going to be back.
I guess they owed it to their fans, particularly after the tragedy that has hit the city of Boston this month. Facing a 3-0 deficit in the series and what most probably would end up been a first round sweep, the Boston Celtics came out with all they had to defend their home court and force a game 5. Paul Pierce guided the Celtics efforts with a brilliant performance that included 27 points, 43 rebounds and 3 assists. Jeff Green chipped in with 26 points and 6 rebounds. Veteran center Kevin Garnet finished the night with a solid performance that included 13 points and 17 rebounds.
But it was Jason Terry, the Celtics shooting guard, still probably feels a bit of pain from the elbow to the face he got on game three from the Knicks own shooting guard J.R. Smith. He took it personally, and he made sure that the Knicks paid for that dirty shot. Terry finished the night with 18 points and 4 assists, including the final 9 points in overtime to give the Celtics a brilliant 97-90 win at home over the New York Knicks.
J.R Smith got a one-game suspension by the league, and the Knicks could have quite clearly used some of his shooting abilities last night. Carmelo Anthony, as usual, guided the Knicks effort with 36 points. It was up to Raymond Felton to cover up for the lack of Smith and he gave the Knicks another 27 points. It wasn’t, however, a good overall game. New York made just 28.9 percent of its shots in the first half as Boston took a 54-35 lead. They managed to come back in the later part of the third quarter. The team rallied from a complicated 20-point deficit to tie the game and force Boston into overtime. But that was exactly when Jason Terry got his groove on, and things started to happen for the veteran team. “It wasn’t really the elbow,” Terry said in the postgame press conference. “It was more (like) this is it. I mean, the season’s over. You can leave it all out here tonight and go home for a long summer or you can live to play another day.”
Game 5 will be played in the Madison Square Garden in New York. The Celtics are still alive, but it is a long shot for this squad to make it into the second round. The Celtics still have a huge deficit in trying to become the first team to win after trailing a series 3-0 in the NBA playoffs. Certainly the odds are not in their favor, but so is the New York Knicks’s most recent history in the playoffs. As a matter of fact, New York is trying to win their first playoff series in 13 years. J.R. Smith will be back for the next game, and it’s unclear whether that will make a huge difference overall. One thing is for sure: the Celtics are going to need another performance like this from Terry and Green in order to give both Pierce and Garnett the backup they need to keep this squad rolling.