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How do the Knicks rebound from this?

May 11, 2013, 11:43 PM EDT

Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert smiles while running down court after a Pacers score during the second half of an NBA Eastern Conference second round playoff basketball game versus the New York Knicks in Indianapolis

Tyson Chandler slowed to let a potential defensive rebound bounce in front of him. Seeing an opportunity, Tyler Hansbrough surged from behind and knocked the ball off Stoudemire as Hansbrough fell out of bounds. The ball bounced off Chandler and over the baseline, and though it next hit the knee of Hansbrough, who was then out of bounds, the officials gave the Pacers the ball.

Before New York could protest, the Pacers had another offensive rebound, Roy Hibbert made a left-handed hook shot, and Indiana took a 2-1 series lead with its 82-71 win tonight.

Whether the Knicks know it or not, this series is getting away from them.

Teams shooting 35 percent or worse from the field had been 2-81 since the beginning of this season, but the Pacers became the third team to win in those circumstances for one big reason (REBOUNDING) and two smaller reasons (3-pointers and the Knicks’ offense being nearly as abysmal).

Indiana outrebounded New York, 53-40, allowing the Pacers to turn the ball over more than the Knicks and still attempt nine more shots. Hibbert (24 points and 12 rebounds) came up big, but it was really a total team effort. Rank the starters by rebounds, and the Pacers have the top two spots and five of the top six, and the Knicks have the bottom four.

1. Pacers (Roy Hibbert, 12)

1. Pacers (David West, 12)

3. Knicks (Iman Shumpert, 9)

4. Pacers (Paul George, 8)

5. Pacers (Lance Stephenson, 7)

6. Pacers (George Hill, 6)

7. Knicks (Tyson Chandler, 5)

7. Knicks (Carmelo Anthony, 5)

9. Knicks (Raymond Felton, 3)

10. Knicks (Pablo Prigioni, 0)

New York’s starters played more than Indiana’s but that underscores the point: The Pacers – big, physical and aggressive on the glass – have a stronger identity than the Knicks right now. New York is still tinkering, which is a dangerous state this deep into the playoffs.

The Knicks were an OK rebounding team during the regular season – ranking 19th in offensive rebounding, 4th in defensive rebounding and 18th overall – but Indiana (fourth offensively, sixth defensively and first overall) has exposed New York’s relative size deficiencies.

The Knicks’ latest adjustment, giving Amar’e Stoudemire nine minutes, didn’t go so hot. With him on the floor, Indiana had more offensive rebounds than New York had defensive rebounds.

Another key for for the Pacers was 3-point shooting. Although they shot just 30.3 percent from beyond the arc, a mark that would have ranked last in the league during the regular season, they made seven more 3s than New York. That’s because the Knicks crowded the paint, allowing Indiana to take 22 more 3-point attempts than New York. Even at a below-average clip, 3-pointers are very valuable due to being worth 50 percent more points than other shots, and the Knicks erred by strategically allowing so many 3s.

Staying on the Pacers’ 3-point shooters will be a relatively easy adjustment for New York going to Game 4, but how do they fix the rebounding? And there’s the Knicks’ offense.

New York looked looked especially horrid offensively at times tonight, but in their lowest moments, the Knicks found the most unlikely saviors.

Their only points on their first seven possessions came on a 20-foot Chandler jumper, his longest made field goal as a Knick.

In the final 6:47 of the third quarter, J.R. Smith was the only Knick to make a shot – and it’s not like he was lighting it up, shooting 2-for-5 in that span – until Stoudemire made a tip-in with six seconds left (a basket that didn’t count until a replay review between the third and fourth quarters overruled a shot clock violation called prior to the basket) and then made his first 3-pointer since Jan. 21, 2012.

Otherwise, Carmelo Anthony (21 points on 6-of-16 shooting) kept them afloat . No other Knick scored double digits.

But the patchwork offense eventually ripped at the seems. The Knicks made only one shot in the first 9:58 of the fourth quarter, and by then, the Pacers’ lead had swelled to 16.

On the other hand, Paul George made his mark while producing shooting just 4-of-17 and committing five turnovers. He had eight rebounds, eight assists (a difficult feat in a game when his teammates shot just 38 percent) and five steals while playing quality defense on Melo.

This isn’t the tidy series the Knicks need, and that’s why the Pacers’ leg up seems even bigger than their 2-1 series lead.

  1. halfbaht - May 12, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    Get to say it again… Called it!

  2. jbeagles23 - May 12, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    The Knicks bigs are softer than bosh. Tyson is over rated and only plays while when he has half a foot on the guy he’s defending.

    • cantonbound13 - May 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      The same Bosh that fell to the floor in the fetal position and cried after they lost to the Mavs? The same Bosh that has played many 30 minute games with 2 rebounds or less? The same Bosh that was no where to be found when Mohammed tossed LeBron to the ground? You must be talking about another Bosh, bandwagoner.

      • miamatt - May 12, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        Actually, that would be the same Bosh who snagged 19 boards in HIS team’s pivotal game 3. The same Bosh who is averaging 8.9 boards per game this playoffs. I looked for Chandler’s name- actually, any Knick, for that matter- among playoff rebounding leaders but my paper only lists the top 20. Not surprising, considering Bosh outplayed the mighty Chandler in last years’ mop-the-floor-with-NY gentleman’s sweep.

        And yes, Bosh was nowhere to be found when James got shoved to the ground by Mohammed. I imagine that had something to do with the fact that Bosh was on the bench, and of course leaving the bench during an altercation is an automatic suspension. Like the rest of the Heat, Bosh is intelligent enough to not fall for Chicago’s gambit. Maybe one day you’ll be intelligent enough to realize how much better off the Knicks would be if they were to swap any of their players sans ‘Melo for Bosh.

      • cantonbound13 - May 12, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        Pivotal game 3???? The Bulls are missing 60% of their starting lineup. The Heat should easily sweep the Bulls.
        By the way Bosh only has only gotten more than 10 rebounds in 2 of their 7 games. The game he went off for 19, Noah & Boozer were conveniently in foul trouble. That helped boost his fake average. Face it, he’s as soft as they get. Shaq nicknamed him Rupaul for a reason.

      • leahcima1 - May 12, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        No he’s the same Bosh that wears the latest championship ring on his left hand, and will be playing for another one while you sit in front of the cartoon channel and improve your mind. How many rings are there in the Knicks locker room?

  3. tmdill18 - May 12, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Th writer said that the Knicks can easily adjust to cover the Pacers 3 point shooting? Sure they can, if they want to stop doubling the Pacer post play and converging on our penetration. The Knicks are in the unenviable position of having to “pick their poison”. If the Knicks do give those wide open 3 point looks again, they lose by 20.

  4. spthegr8 - May 12, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Same ol sorry @$$ Knicks

  5. bux1022 - May 12, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    2-1 Knicks in 6 or 7 .. This is nothing surprising we split with then in the regular season. It will be a good series, one in which the Knicks move on again, point blank period!! All you bandwagon pacers fans were bandwagon Celts fans too, and look what happened! Exactly idiots!

    • melkipershero - May 12, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      Not sure because people are picking the Pacers theyre bandwagon fans. Just making their OPINIONS known just like you. The Knicks have bandwagon fans just like every team who has success. Whoever plays the Heat has bandwagoners. Nothing wrong with that.

  6. elcapitanfiscal - May 12, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Where is Mr. Wright and his knicks fan?

    Anyone that watches nba basketball knew Melo would just turn into a volume shooter against the knicks..

    He was playing defense and rebounding, but not anymore..

    At least he got 1 assist..pacers showing them defense wins championships

  7. cj1403 - May 12, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    @cantonbound The same Bosh that outplayed Chandler last year in the first round. Btw didn’t Chandler get a whopping 5 rebounds the other night.

    • cantonbound13 - May 12, 2013 at 5:56 PM

      Last year? Do you realize the Knicks were so bad last year they had Baron Davis & Landry Fields as their starters & no Amare or Shumpert? Actually he didn’t outplay Chandler in that series, the same Chandler that won the defensive player of the year award. An award your “King” can’t seem to capture. Heat fans that bring up last years results are clueless, the Knicks changed half their roster from last season.

  8. dysraw1 - May 12, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    no need to panic yet their backcourt had the lively legs that game and Hibbert played well this is a good series against a good team. don’t expect N.Y. to walk over these guys. we gotta get better than 70 points a game and stay the course defensively

  9. goodfellas17 - May 13, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    Knicks are simply overrated.

  10. cj1403 - May 13, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    @cantonbound That award was handed to him, not earned. He didn’t even make the All-Defensive First Team. Voters where just tired of giving it to Howard and they wont’t give Lebron the DPY & the MVP awards.

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