Pacers Beat The Knicks With Offense

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NEW YORK – The Indiana Pacers aren’t nearly the best offensive team in the NBA. But they’re a lot better than the Boston Celtics, a painful lesson learned by the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Defense was the Pacers’ calling card this season. And behind the exceptional rim protection of Roy Hibbert, Indiana kept a great offensive team at bay in Game 1 of the conference semifinals. The Knicks shot just 12-for-28 in the restricted area as Hibbert blocked five shots and contested countless others.

But it was the other end of the floor that really determined the 102-95 outcome, giving the Pacers their first win at Madison Square Garden this season, as well as home-court advantage in this series.

The Knicks looked like a pretty good defensive team against the Celtics. They pressured Avery Bradley and swarmed Paul Pierce, and there was nothing that Boston could really do about it, because they didn’t have anyone who could create shots or make something out of nothing.

The Pacers have that. They have Hibbert and David West in the post. They have George Hill in the pick-and-roll and Lance Stephenson on the break. And they have a jack-of-all-trades in Paul George. Throw in some hot shooting from D.J. Augustin (4-for-5 from 3-point range) and Indiana had six guys in double figures on Sunday, even though neither George (5-for-14) nor Hill (5-for-17) shot well.

It was a balanced attack in more ways than one, because there was no real offensive set or action from which Indiana got a lot of production. It was a real mixed bag of early offense, pick-and-rolls, post-ups, random plays made late in the shot clock, and second-chance points.

“If you’re going to score the ball offensively in the playoffs, especially in an environment like this, teams are going to take away your first option, your second option,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said afterward. “Random action is a huge, huge part of playoff basketball on the offensive end. And our guys did a great job of just playing the game.”

After some early struggles (10 points on their first 15 possessions), it was a couple of offensive rebounds (from Hibbert and Tyler Hansbrough) that produced five second chance points and got the Pacers going. And it was in the second quarter when they hit their stride, scoring 30 points on just 20 possessions and turning a seven-point deficit into a six-point lead that they continued to build on in the second half.

The Pacers’ spacing was good, they shared the ball, and they didn’t force anything. They played smart. They had 16 turnovers, but only four of them were live balls, keeping the Knicks from getting out in transition.

“I thought we didn’t have a careless turnover,” West said. “We took our time tonight. I thought guys did a good job of putting them on their heels, attacking and being aggressive.”

The Knicks weren’t awful defensively (meaning that they weren’t nearly as bad as the Nets were in the first half on Saturday night), but going from the Celtics to the Pacers (or any other team, really) is an adjustment. New York tried applying pressure on the ball like they did against Boston, but unlike the Celtics, the Pacers have real NBA point guards who are able to handle that pressure, as well as more guys who can make plays once the defense is compromised.

So the Knicks have some things to figure out. Because the Pacers scored from all directions, there’s no obvious defensive adjustments to make. They may just have to work harder and longer defensively.

You can point to the offense and that Carmelo Anthony (10-for-28) and J.R. Smith (4-for-15) shot a combined 33 percent. And make no mistake about it, the efficiency at which the Knicks were scoring at the end of the regular season has been completely lost.

But with Hibbert staying back to protect the rim, Raymond Felton was again productive in the pick-and-roll on Sunday. Overall, the Knicks did score 95 points on 90 possessions, a solid output in a playoff game against the league’s top defense.

The Knicks themselves ranked 16th defensively this season. They looked much better in the first round, but if Game 1 of this series is any indication, that was more about the Celtics than the Knicks.

27 Comments

  1. Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly loved surfing around your weblog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I am hoping you write again soon!

  2. @ ac-
    LMAO-Oh Yeah sure, keep getting drunk & falling over in your ny clubs till after 2am-like what 4, 5, 6am & go on killing each other over something stupid-yeah ok-lots of real fun!

  3. @ ac-I mean lil ac-
    LMAO-I knew your lil boys pomposity would just have to display itself again-guess you have nothing else to do as i knew somebody like you would respond again as such-none the less i’m all about Unity period & i don’t use them such words referring to people who are mentally challenged as i have empathy for them & have family with it. Grow up little child & get a life. :)

  4. ac says:

    @Greenallday

    There’s a lot of things wrong with your response, not the least of which is that its riddled with spelling mistakes. Hopefully you’re a fourth grader because if not there’s really no excuse.

    You wrote the book on ny reverse psychology?!? I love that book! My favorite chapter is the one where they talk about how amazed Bostonians are when they came to NY to find out that, in fact, bars and restaurants actually stay open past 1AM. Or how about the chapter when four wicked queeahs from Brockton spend the whole day crying because the misread their ticket stubs and missed the Aerosmith concert! Compelling stuff.

    “If our Boston is so boring compared to ny, why is our city & surrounding city’s-the city’s of so many first & we can pretty much say that Boston power isn’t built off of drug & gansta’s money!”

    Did you even bother to read that sentence before typing? Hopefully not, otherwise you’re wicked retaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhded

  5. @ ac-LMAO-not quite sure what you mean, in fact i have absolutely no idea what that word means so in contrast-people who claim that of others are usually the ones suffering from it-Hence, no ny reverse psych working here son-i wrote the book on it :) ! If our Boston is so boring compared to ny, why is our city & surrounding city’s-the city’s of so many first & we can pretty much say that Boston power isn’t built off of drug & gansta’s money!

  6. Sintido kumon says:

    Melo is regarded as a superstar but he ain’t bein treated like one,not like durant,lebron,wade…these are the superstars that flops but gets the call,but not melo…he plays bully ball but he ain’t getting too many calls…after game one,this writer is ready to write the Knicks off,I agree that pacers are much different from the celtics in a way that they have a true point guard but saying that the celts don’t have anyone who can create shots is downright disrespectful to the celtics who fought hard against the Knicks….pierce,garnet,terry and green hurt the Knicks in their series,this writer probably wasn’t watching…in saying that,the Knicks are so much different than the hawks too,and in my opinion the Knicks will take this series if they can grind it out on the boards…easier said than done but its doable…

  7. JimD54 says:

    The Pacers are a real team, no superstars, a real center, a strong front line, quick guards and a smart coach, they will be OK until the refs start cheating for the superstars.

  8. sanjay says:

    wow pacers are picking up man! nyk has very limited scoring options if melo has on off day!

  9. bu says:

    Pacers is another team play on system. They win games when they shoot under 40%. Not many teams can do that, certainly not the Knicks. The question is how many bad shots & wild shots can Melo & JR make, while playing solid enough D to keep the Pacer’s bigs off the boards? The Knicks’ offense ride a bit on the hot hands of Melo & JR. Once the other guys are shut down or close check, Melo & JR will hold the ball & try to shoot out of it. That’s how Celtics defended Kobe is to run down the shot clock a bit, let Kobe hv the ball around 8-9 secs on shot clock. Then let him shoot outside or difficult shots. He made some but whole team go stagnant & cold, while odds are against Kobe on such shot attempts.

    I’d say Pacers in 6 games

  10. Respect says:

    Hang Time Bloggers have no respect to the Celtics Team. Disappointed.

  11. W/E says:

    Carmelo and J.R = Clowns, they played together in denver and they failed,u guys expect them to do any better now with the knicks, they are selfish ballhogs who jack up stupid shoots, every time the knicks win is becuase of everyone else and everytime they lose is because of these 2 guys screwing everything with their stupid inconsistent offence.

  12. OhNoMelo! says:

    10 out 28? im a knicks/heat fan but Melo made the whole knicks team look awful by taking too many forced shots. he should let the game come to him and let J.Kidd and Felton facilitate the offense. hoping for a better game 2.

  13. How can ny fans, team & whole organization be proud of that-help from the powers that be?

    • ac says:

      People from Boston crack me up. I know you have an inferiority complex against NY because you’re painfully aware how boring Boston is compared to NYC. Everybody knows, nobody cares.

  14. The Tricks-oops i mean ny were handed the first round by the powers that be over My Celts-mark them words-as evidenced by the officiating the 1st 2 games!

  15. Great start Pacers-keep it going & smash the tricks-oops i mean knicks. Thank My Celtics for wearing them out in 6 w/ stellar defense-they’re lucky it didn’t go 7. Now Pacers-go finish the job & bury them-2nd round for melo ever is enough!

  16. chenw says:

    uhh celtics don’t have anyone who can create something out of nothing? What about paul pierce?

    Seems a bit disrespectful…

  17. KB24 says:

    yes MELO=fake

  18. glen says:

    melo is the most overrated player in the league: look at his playoff shooting percentages this year! usually takes more shots that he has points! and 38% shooting? ha! volume shooters don’t win championships!

  19. amitpal says:

    I think the knicks r a little overrater. I think carmelo anthony is overrater as well. Hes treated like a top 5 player in the nba when I dont think he is. He cant carry a team isnt a good leader and well doesnt make his teammates better. Hes just a better offensive version of rudy gay. Hes over payed. Hes no lebron kd chris paul kobe dwade drose russel westbrook even dwight howard. Those are all the guys id rather have than melo.

  20. Sice the playoffs begin, the Knicks are playig very non-team basketball… they will not survive Pacers with that kind of play…

  21. nbapacersfan says:

    Go home Knicks, you’re drunk… oh, wait… you’re already at home !

    BLUE COLLAR / GOLD SWAGGER

  22. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    Pacers in 5 !!!

    I SAID IT FROM THE START – KNICKS WILL NOT GET PAST THE PACERS! THE KNICKS, AND MELO ESPECIALLY, ARE BEING EXPOSED FOR THE GARBAGE THAT THEY ARE !

    LIKE CHARLES BARKELY SAID: “THE KNICKS ARE FOOL’S GOLD”

  23. holyspectator says:

    melo is in a bad shooting slump…dude needs some simple easy basket to get goin and get in rhythm, same for JR…props to indys defense, brooklyn already flopped, dont need another one to happen in NY

  24. Tyrone says:

    The Pacers just destroyed Sixth Man of the Year: JR Smith and Scoring Champ: Melo today. Hopefully the Knicks can shake it off. I expect this to be an intense Series.

  25. newyorksteelo says:

    What a bummer!