By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Pacers | Bankers Life Fieldhouse
When: Saturday | 7:00 PM
Where to Watch: TNT
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
Knicksnow Live In-Game Chat
Both teams shot 35% in a low-scoring affair, but the Pacers won, 82-71, to take a 2-1 series lead.
New York: If you had told the Knicks that they would hold the Pacers to 82 points on 35% shooting in Indiana, they would have been very optimistic about their chances. But they got outrebounded by five and were uncharacteristically outproduced by 21 points from three-point land in the Game 3 loss. They know that to win the series, they'll have to win one in Indiana -- either tonight or in Game 6 that would be on Saturday, if necessary. J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin have both been battling illness and are listed as questionable for tonight. They did take part in shootaround today, unlike Iman Shumpert, who is getting his knee examined today and is also a gametime decision.
Indiana: The Pacers hold a 2-1 series lead thanks to a staunch commitment to their gameplan. They aim to run shooters off the three-point line and prevent solid looks at the rim, and in Game 3 they held the Knicks to only 11 attempts from three and 35% shooting overall. After New York held him to seven shot attempts in Game 2, Roy Hibbert took advantage of the Knicks' slow double teams, pumping in 24 points and pulling down 12 boards.
The Numbers Game
The Knicks averaged almost 29 three-point attempts per game in the regular season, but shot only 11 in Game 3. The Pacers averaged just under 20, but shot 33.
Matchup to Watch
Tyson Chandler vs. Roy Hibbert
Hibbert had to be the MVP of Game 3, and in the eyes of many, that made Chandler the man responsible. But we know that defense in the NBA is as much about team concepts and execution as individual matchups, and in the days since, it's become clear that the team as a whole could have done a much better job preventing the Pacaers' 7'2" center from getting the ball in position to score. As players and coaches explained, the plan was to double hard when either Hibbert or David West caught the ball, and too often that didn't happen. Chandler will have to do a better job on the glass if the Knicks are to win tonight, but so will his teammates, who are counted on to crash down and clean up the mess while the bigs box out.
What to Look For
For the Knicks, availability of key players has become an untimely storyline. Smith played in Game 3 with a temperature of 102, and both he and Martin have been battling illness the last few days. Shumpert's knee is a concern, and his loss would be a major blow to the Knicks, especially defensively and on the boards. Players and coaches all spoke about wanting to push the pace, which at its core means not walking the ball up the court and more focus on ball movement on offense. Containing Hibbert and West will again be a focal point of the defense; if the Knicks can limit their attempts, they can live with the likes of George Hill and Lance Stephenson hoisting shots from long distance.