Entering Game 4, head coach Mike Woodson altered the starting lineup for the first time in the semifinals series. The head man placed Kenyon Martin at the power forward spot and shifted Carmelo Anthony to small forward. Iman Shumpert moved to shooting guard and the trickle down effect left Pablo Prigioni on the sidelines for the opening tip.
The premise behind this decision is understandable considering the rebounding issues for New York. A big lineup figured to challenge the top regular season team on the glass. Unfortunately, the Knicks were still outrebounded 54-36 in the Game 4 defeat.
Woodson hinted at the fact he might feature a starting unit featuring Prigioni in Game 5, which could prove to be the biggest adjustment in-between contests.
“We are contemplating doing that,” Woodson at Wednesday’s practice regarding Prigioni’s place in the starting five. He added, “That lineup has been good and there is a strong chance that we can go right back to it.”
Another wrinkle to watch on Thursday night is the potential impact of Chris Copeland and Steve Novak if they receive substantial minutes. Both players are capable of catching fire and stretching the opposing defense with efficient shooting from downtown. Woodson may opt for an offensive-minded lineups as opposed to the big defensive units as the Knicks look to extend the series and send it back to Indiana for Game 6.