It was by no means an oil painting of a performance, but after consecutive dreadful performances in games three and four, the Knicks pulled out a win over the Indiana Pacers in game five at MSG.
The Knicks’ offense woke from its slumber just enough to allow the Knicks to pull out the win. They went to Chris Copeland throughout the game and the rookie came up big time, scoring 13 points on 8 shots and giving the Knicks a big lift. In the end, nonetheless, it was all Carmelo Anthony for New York. He suffered through another poor shooting night, but hit several big shots down the stretch. Melo finished with 28 points.
A huge part of the Knicks’ success was that they hung with the massive front line of the Pacers on the boards. It was a team effort on the glass for New York, as Ray Felton and Iman Shumpert spent as much time battling for rebounds as Tyson Chandler. It certainly didn’t hurt the Knicks that Indiana center Roy Hibbert was in foul trouble all night.
J.R. Smith also was a bit better for NYK, but he continues to struggle from deep. Eventually, you have to think that he will explode.
Meanwhile, outside of a few minutes when he came in and missed a relatively easy layup, Jason Kidd was nowhere to be seen in game five, which is great news for Knicks fans. Kidd had been all sorts of awful all playoffs, appearing slightly worse at basketball than David Ortiz would be as a track runner. He came into the game shooting a contemptible 13% in the playoffs, yet had logged major minutes in every game. That ended in the Knicks win.
As for the Pacers, they definitely did not play their best game–they looked out of sync from the tip. Nonetheless, it’s still a huge win for a Knicks team that looked dead in the water coming in.
Now the series shifts back to the Hoosier State, where the Knicks looked so bad earlier. They seemed to forget their offense in NYC after game two and they better remember to bring it to Indianapolis this time around. A win away from the Eastern Conference Finals, (where they would face the unenviable task of beating the NBA’s best team in a seven game series) the Pacers are sure to be much sharper at home in front of the bandwagon fans of Bankers Life Fieldhouse (sorry to Pacers fans but… its true). Can the Knicks, a streaky team all season, go on one more tear? Or will it be a Heat-Pacers Eastern Conference Finals?