Did the Knicks shoot their way out of Game 1 against the Pacers, or did the Pacers' staunch defense keep them from getting the opportunities they needed for the win? Either way, things didn't go Carmelo Anthony's way. New York needs a win in Game 2 to avoid heading back to Indiana down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
New York couldn't defend homecourt advantage, with Anthony scoring 27 points on 28 shots, bottled up by Paul George's tight defense funneled into Roy Hibbert's contests at the rim. The Pacers weren't too shabby on offense either, scoring 102 points, with all five scorers -- and oddly, a sharpshooting D.J. Augustin off the bench -- managing double digits. The Knicks have problems to solve on offense, and the Pacers seem content with a Knicks squad that seems interested in matching up rather than playing their own game plan.
Game time: 7 p.m. ET
Odds: New York opened as a 5.5-point favorite.
Here are three questions about Tuesday night's Game 2, as New York attempts to tie up the series.
1. Will the Knicks figure out how to avoid Roy Hibbert?
Roy Hibbert made his case Sunday for why he's the NBA's best interior defender. Forays into the paint were met by the 7'2 Georgetown product, and he managed to consistently contest, rarely fouling while flustering and frustrating Knicks attackers over and over again. Not only did Hibbert's fierce defense flummox everybody trying to score inside, his dependability allowed other four Pacers on the floor to stay home on their assignments.
Dylan Murphy of Posting and Toasting and SB Nation's Mike Prada each broke down how the Knicks can eliminate Hibbert from having the largest effect. You should read both, both of which come with great analysis and pretty pictures. (If you must know, they feel the team should run more side/snug pick-and-rolls.)
Can the Knicks effectively employ an offensive strategy to negate Hibbert's rim defense, or at the very least tolerate it?
2. Good Melo and J.R., or Bad Melo and J.R.?
The Knicks' two high-risk, high-reward shooters have been a little bit off-kilter lately. They were a combined 14-for-43 in Game 1, and that came after struggles toward the end of the Knicks-Celtics series that saw potential sweep turn into a six-game slugfest. Both are taking a lot of shots, and aren't getting so many points.
The Knicks need J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony to take a lot of shots to win. The difference is whether those shots will be smart shots or impatient isolations, and even if they are coming out of rhythm, whether or not they'll fall.
3. Who wins the perimeter?
The Knicks hit 891 threes this season, breaking the NBA record for the most by the team in a single season. Meanwhile, the Pacers were the league's best team at defending the three, in terms of both attempts -- only 16.6 per game -- and three-point percentage -- teams shot just 32.7 percent from beyond the arc.
In Game 1, the Knicks shot just 19 threes and hit seven of them, good for 36.8 percent. Better than the average against the Pacers, but well below their team averages of 28.9 per game and 37.6 percent. It was the result of strong Pacers' perimeter defense -- as noted, aided by Hibbert's consistent interior play keeping guys from needing to help off shooters -- and a Knicks team that opted to play an unwieldy big lineup they haven't used often in the past.