By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Pacers | Madison Square Garden
When: Saturday | 8:00 PM
Where to Watch: TNT
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
Knicksnow Live In-Game Chat
The Pacers took a 3-1 series lead with a 93-82 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
New York: The Knicks switched up the starting lineup before Game 4, subbing Kenyon Martin for Pablo Prigioni in an effort to combat Indy's size and rebounding ability. It didn't quite work out for New York (they were outrebounded, 54-36), but as many (including Martin and coach Mike Woodson) have said since the game, that isn't necessarily a reflection of the job done by the bigs. The Pacers used a team rebounding approach (wings Paul George and Lance Stephenson combined for 21 boards), and to beat them tonight, the Knicks will have to do the same. The Knicks, facing elimination, will count on Carmelo Anthony (24 points on 23 shots in Game 4) and J.R. Smith (19 points on 22 shots) to get hot and keep them alive.
Indiana: The Pacers have the Knicks right where they want them thanks to a gameplan that has remained consistent since the regular season. What made them the top-ranked defense in the league -- running opponents off the three-point line and protecting the rim -- has continued throughout this series, and the Knicks have not been able to punish them from the in-between range. They have a balanced approach on offense, each night taking what the defense gives them. One night, it's Roy Hibbert or David West, the next it's Paul George. In Game 4, it was George Hill who led the way with 26 points.
The Numbers Game
Only eight teams have come back from 3-1 deficits in seven-game series. The Knicks know they have to take it one game at a time, though, and they went 31-10 at home this season.
Matchup to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Paul George
Indiana has had moderate success defending Anthony through four games; while he's produced 26 points per game, the Pacers and George, in particular, have used their length to force him into taking 23.3 shots to get those points. With his teammates struggling to hit shots, Melo will be counted on tonight to help stave off elimination. That means scoring, but also making quick decisions to force Indy to help.
What to Look For
After some pretty drastic rotation changes in Game 4, Woodson hinted at returning to the lineup with Prigioni, who played less than four minutes on Tuesday. They are looking for anyone who can put the ball in the hole, so we might see more minutes for Chris Copeland, as well. J.R. Smith showed some signs of breaking out of his funk in 31 minutes last game, and he could be a factor tonight. With their backs against the wall and playing at home, they'll need to avoid falling behind early, like they did in Games 3 and 4 in Indiana.