The New York Knicks answered Sunday's Game 1 home loss to the Indiana Pacers with a complete first half in Tuesday's Game 2. The Knicks set the pace defensively and had help across the floor on offense on the way to a 47-42 halftime lead over Indiana. The Pacers scored eight straight points to close out the first half to bring the margin from New York's largest lead to within five.
New York was 21-of-44 from the field in the first half (47.7 percent), but it didn't arrive at that figure by way of a particularly hot Carmelo Anthony or hitting a bunch of threes. Instead, the Knicks excelled around the basket and in the midrange game. SB Nation's Rodger Sherman previewed Game 2 with three questions, and upon further inspection, it's clear the Knicks did, at least in the first half, exactly what was deemed vital to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole headed to Indiana.
1. Will the Knicks figure out how to avoid Roy Hibbert?
Indiana dominated Game 1 with its defensive performance, and much of that was easily traced back to center Roy Hibbert. He dominated the game, as SB Nation's Mike Prada outlined, blocking five shots and altering many more on the way to a 102-95 win Sunday. In essence, the Pacers won Game 1 choosing the best shots to give up and heavily contesting higher-percentage fares. The Knicks seemed to adjust well in the first half Tuesday, due in part to simply shooting better than in Game 1 but also compensating with sets that drew Hibbert away from the basket more often, opening the lane for drives.
Also, Iman Shumpert did this, which certainly seems to help.
2. Good Melo and J.R., or Bad Melo and J.R.?
Anthony and Smith were a combined 14-of-43 Sunday, and the Knicks' offense is as reliant as it is on two players that shoot 32.6 percent, being within seven points by the final buzzer is better than some would predict. Anthony still struggled from the field Tuesday, and Smith did too. The two were 9-of-19 in the first half Tuesday. But picking up the slack were New York guards Raymond Felton and Shumpert. Felton came out hot in the first quarter, setting the pace early for the Knicks' offense. Felton had nine points at halftime on 4-of-5 shooting. Shumpert, seen above dunking on the entire city of New York, was 5-of-8 and had 11 points at the break.
3. Who Wins the Perimeter?
Neither team was great from deep in the first half, but the Knicks opted for a higher-than-usual dose of shots from inside the arc. The Knicks made 891 threes this season, setting an NBA record, but they were only 3-of-11 in the first half Tuesday. Indiana was 3-of-10. It's hard to blame the Knicks, who shot 18-of-33 from inside the line in the first half and stuck with the first-half attack that worked for them to build a lead as large as 13 before giving up Indiana's half-closing run.
Paul George had 15 points and three rebounds at halftime.
More from SB Nation: