Pacers vs Knicks
The stage is set, the lights are on, the floor is polished and the fans will arrive at MSG to watch their beloved Knicks climb a mountain or fall from grace. Tonight the New York Knickerbockers will try to start a 3 game winning streak in front of their home crowd with the weight of the city on their backs. Who shows up? Who captures the spot light and takes on the task at hand?
Mike Woodson has done a poor job with the Knicks rotation these playoffs, especially against the Indiana Pacers, who are known for lock down D and great ball movement. They play team basketball to the tenth degree. This is something the New York Knicks players should observe and copy, but if they need to be reminded of this at this point in the playoffs then maybe we are speaking on deaf ears.
The fans, media and all of Knicks nation have been pounding our hands on the desk asking why the Knicks do not spread the floor and try to neutralize the Indiana bigs? This is what they have done all year, spread the floor, shoot three’s, mid-range jumpers, while running high pick and rolls to give Felton room to penetrate and create space for wide open shots. Why they cannot get back to THEIR game has me scratching my head.
I understand Indy has a great defense, but the Knicks are the #2 seed and have had a very good year by imposing their will on other teams, forcing them to adjust to their style, not the other way around.
Chris Copeland WAS a major part of the Knicks success late in the season, why sit him now? He is a 3 dimensional player (shoot, post and drive) who can give the Knicks a HUGE lift on the offense. Yes his D is below average, but he is no worse than Amar’e on the D, so to drop him from the rotation is a questionable move, especially since the Knicks are searching high and low for offense. This has made me question Mike Woodson’s frame of thinking.
Pablo Prigioni was also a LARGE part of the Knicks season ending winning streak, going 16-2 as a starter, playing a major role on this team. His specialty is flow and ball movement, which the Knicks apparently have a major problem with. If you watch the games, and I know you do, we can all see that when the Knicks move the ball with quick decisions, they are very successful. Pablo is the maestro when it comes to that. In addition to his “flow of the ball” mentality, he is a pesky defensive player, who is a nuisance to the opposing team. Pablo needs to be a part of the rotation today and beyond!
Jason Kidd has not scored in 8 games, but he does other things on the court that the Knicks need. However, at the moment the Knicks are desperate for offense. When Tyson, Martin and Kidd are on the floor, the Knicks are at a major disadvantage from scoring the basket. This needs to be looked at from a coaching and strategy standpoint. Kidd is a hall of famer and well respected, but those attributes will not help when your team cannot score the basket and they shoot 35% from the field. The Knicks are facing elimination, now is not the time for loyalty and a loss.
J.R. Smith’s slump had continued to the detriment of the team. Woody has stuck by him and I respect that, but that does not help the team score! When is it time to sit J.R. and give Cope or Q-Rich a chance to fill the minutes in place of J.R. Smith? Benching him now might be a knee jerk reaction, however living and dying with J.R. might mean the end of the season tonight. J.R. Smith helped the Knicks get here and he has had a career year, but when is it time to find a spark some place else?
Overall, I do not know which team will show up tonight. A Knicks team with pride and energy or a team that looks beaten, fragmented and ready to go home. I choose to believe the Knicks will show up tonight and take this series to 7 games with a big win tonight and a thrilling win in Indy to force a game 7 back at the Garden on Monday night.
The Knicks have had a very successful season. They can’t go out like chumps. Rise up New York and cheer your heroes. Rise up Knicks players and honor your city and your pride. WE BELIEVE IN YOU, SO SHOULD YOU!