By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Size was a big topic coming into this series. The Pacers have it, the wisdom goes, so the Knicks would have to adjust accordingly. But in reality, the situation is much more nuanced, and it affects how both teams will play going forward.
It all starts with Roy Hibbert, who is listed at 6-foot-2. Not only is he incredibly long, but he's refined his craft over the years to the point where he is now one of the best in the league at contesting shots without fouling. (I know, he might have gotten away with one or two in Game 1, but as this post shows, he's become adept at being patient and going straight up).
Frank Vogel praised his team for playing to its strength after the game. As Jason Kidd said, "They're a big team, and they invite you to see the big fella."
Things get tricky when the one thing that every team wants to do -- attack the basket -- happens to play right into the opponent's hands. But the Pacers aren't unbeatable; The Knicks beat them twice this season. And they can do it again, even with Hibbert manning the middle.
To do so, they just have to play their game. They broke the NBA's single-season record for most three-pointers made, and with better ball movement, they should be able to get the defense scrambling.
And they'll have to keep attacking. Hibbert avoided fouling out in Game 1, but just barely (he finished with five and a couple more the could have gone against him). Ball movement, and in particular the type that forces the big man to move his feet, can do wonders for a clogged-up restricted area.
Mike Woodson hinted at the most simple solution to the Game 1 problem: "I thought (Roy) Hibbert played better tonight. I have to get Tyson playing better than Hibbert. It is a team but these are matchups we have to do better at." A more aggressive Chandler, along with continued penetration from Raymond Felton, should give the home team a much better shot in Game 2.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images