Knicks vs Pacers: Game 6
The Knicks team played one of the grittiest games of their whole season to triumph by 10 points over Indiana. But now they’re heading away from the hype of the fans and the comfort of a home locker room at Madison Square and will have to step it up once again to beat a strong Pacers team in Indianapolis, who will be riding a tidal wave of support from the notorious yellow-clad fans.
Mike Woodson is going to have to make the right decisions at critical moments. One decision he made right in Game 5 was the insertion of Chris Copeland for 19 minutes. He hasn’t seen much court time this postseason, even though having been a major scoring threat in the latter stages of the regular season. He scored a season high 33 points against Atlanta in the last regular season game showing he can really be a solid piece to an offense, and also a go-to guy if Carmelo and J.R. aren’t producing the goods. Also he is one of the few Knicks who has the stroke from 3-point range. He shot an impressive 75% hitting 3-4 from deep in the last game.
Also, New York will have to carry on with the good ball protection, having given away only 11 total turnovers, a large improvement on Game 4. Furthermore, 12 steals is a commendable effort, as they will have to keep up the defensive hustle if they want to return to the Garden one more time this series.
The mentality for the win will have to be there. It is always harder to achieve on the road, but if the Knicks hit the floor running in the first quarter history suggests they have a fair chance of getting on the plane with the W. This is the most crucial game yet and the player’s will all have to realize that, however big or small their role in the rotation is.
We saw an inkling of a J.R. Smith resurgence in the last game. I believe his stat line (scoring 13 from 4-11) does not truly reflect the effect he had on the game. He will have to once again maximize his effectiveness and return to his 6th “Man of the Year” form.
If Tyson and Kenyon manage to hold their own against a beefy Pacers frontcourt on the glass, they can make life easier for the perimeter players knocking down the 3 ball or help create an open 2 by drawing the big men (Hibbert and West) down low. The Knicks team as a whole only were out rebounded by the Pacers 43-40 in Game 5, which in my opinion is very respectable, considering the 7’2” beast that is Roy Hibbert, attempting to dominate the paint.
Carmelo Anthony, the NBA season scoring champion, the guy who can dig a team out of a hole, will have to be in top form once again. Melo, having knocked down a very respectable game high 28 points last game, will need to be clicking on all cylinders if the NY Knicks wants to pull this off.
The Knicks will have to face a hostile atmosphere and prepare to do battle in Indy. Players such as Kidd who has gone 8 games without a single point while still playing considerable minutes, WILL have to end the drought. Amar’e coming off the bench will have to have as big an impact as possible, even if he is a shadow of his former 25 PPG self. Tyson will have to step it up. Raymond has to be getting himself open. You get the picture. Everything has to go right tonight if the New York Knicks want this to go to 7.