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Knicks In Must-Win Situation Against the Pacers

On Tuesday, the Indiana Pacers will look to keep their unblemished home playoff record as they host the New York Knicks for Game 4.

They took a 2-1 lead in the series after defeating New York on Saturday 82-71 and will try to make it 0-3 against the Knicks on their home court.

For New York, they’re facing a few challenges. One is they’ve been hit by the injury bug and on Monday, three players were absent from practice.

Iman Shumpert sat out from a sore left knee but how serious it is hasn’t been made clear. The player has said the pain is from his fall in Game 3 after a second-half collision not from last year’s torn ACL surgery. Both Shumpert and coach Mike Woodson think he will play on Tuesday.

J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin also missed Monday’s practice from illnesses. Smith has been sick since Friday but played in Saturday’s game, shooting 4 for 12 and for the series, hitting 12 for 52.

Unfortunately for Martin, he now has the same illness as Smith–called a virus by Woodson–and now there’s concern it may spread around the team.

Smith and Martin will be game-time decisions while Shumpert will likely play.

Knicks Center Tyson Chandler

Knicks Center Tyson Chandler

Besides players missing practice, there’s been also a little drama. Carmelo Anthony, the team’s leader in more ways than one, has subtly been accused by his teammate, Tyson Chandler, of taking over the team’s offense.

On Sunday, Chandler made critical remarks after the Knicks only scored 71 points in Game 3.

He said via ESPN, “I watched the tape myself and there’s open looks. We have to be willing passers. You have to sacrifice yourself sometimes for the betterment of the team, for the betterment of your teammates. So when you drive in the paint, you draw, you kick it. We need to do a better job of allowing the game to dictate who takes the shots and not the individuals.”

“I’m not saying that anybody is doing it maliciously. I think it’s moreso a situation, you want to take over the game or you want to make a big shot, where you have to just stick to the game plan.”

No, Chandler didn’t name any names, but you gotta think it was directed toward Anthony and also likely Smith. Anthony appeared put off by the remarks but shot down any discord on the team.

He said via ESPN, “We’re good. As far as mentally and everybody being on the same page and everybody staying confident, everybody is where we should be.”

Chandler’s comments were also likely directed toward the team’s recent poor play, especially from Saturday.

Anthony had 16 field goal attempts–a low for the postseason–thanks to cold shooting. He had zero baskets in the fourth quarter and only two points with 11 free throws for the night. Smith only attempted 12 shots.

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

For the series, Anthony is .414 in shooting and is obviously capable of greater play than that.

One area of success for Anthony has been points from the pick-and-roll (1.4) during the playoffs, but he’s only done the 25 times. More of this could open up 3-point opportunities and as a result, Woodson has said there could be more playing time from Chris Copeland and Steve Novak.

The team’s defense has also been weak as the Knicks were outrebounded by the Pacers in Game 3 by 13 and Indiana’s Roy Hibbert grabbed 24 points with 12 rebounds.

For the Knicks, Game 4 is seen as a must-win. History is not on their side as only eight teams in league history have come back from a from a 3-1 deficit.

It looks like there’s a tough road ahead as the Pacers will get the win on Tuesday (-5.5, 179.5 o/u). The Knicks sit at +3000 to win it all while the Pacers are +2000.




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