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Knicks might revert to their better-rebounding lineup, their small lineup

May 16, 2013, 12:33 PM EDT

Mike Woodson, Steve Novak, Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin

The Knicks started Kenyon Martin in place of Pablo Prigioni in Game 4 against the Pacers, an apparent attempt to match Indiana’s size. But once again, New York was torched on the glass and lost by double digits.

So, Mike Woodson is looking for solutions where he’d already found them. Adam Zagoria of

Asked if he would go back to the old lineup, Woodson said: “We’re contemplating doing that. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. That lineup has been great for us for two, three months. and I went away from it last night to go big and a lot of that was based on guys not being in practice and not too sure about Iman [Shumpert] in terms of his knee.

“So I didn’t want to bring him off and then him being stiff. I mean there were a lot of things playing into why I did what I did but that lineup has been good and there’s a strong chance we could go right back to that lineup.”

The Knicks’ big lineups – defined as when two of Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, Amar’e Stoudemire and Marcus Camby play together – have not fared well against the Pacers in this series:

  • Big: –6 in 54 minutes
  • Small: +3 in 135 minutes

That’s fairly expected, considering the Knicks have built their identity on going small. But New York’s big lineups haven’t even helped against the Pacers’ chief advantage, rebounding. The Knicks’ small lineups have grabbed a larger share offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds than their big lineups.

Offensive rebounding:

  • Big: 20 percent
  • Small: 25 percent

Defensive rebounding:

  • Big: 64 percent
  • Small: 68 percent

Total rebounding:

  • Big: 41 percent
  • Small: 45 percent

Woodson should start Prigioni in Game 5. That would help the Knicks’ ball movement and shooting, and it might not even hurt them on the glass.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - May 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Just play Cope and Novak and sit JR if he’s on his BS again tonight. Give him time to show what he’s got, and if he starts taking 22 foot step-backs and jacking up 3’s galore and bricking them, then play Cope and Novak after him.

    One game at a time. Against a below average offense, you are still able to push it to 7 at home. Just get it done tonight and “steal” the one back that they stole in Game 1 in Indianapolis on Saturday for Game 6.

    • miaheat305 - May 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      One funeral at a time.

  2. 4thquartermagic - May 16, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Better rebounding won’t offset Melo and JR Swish going 9 of 72 from the field.

  3. alildusty - May 16, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    They def should have been playing cope more. martin should only go in when chandler gets in foul trouble. whenever him and tyson are on the floor together the paint gets packed and the offense goes stale.

    Start chandler, melo, cope, prigioni, felton.
    sub out martin for chandler or melo.
    jr for melo or cope
    kidd for prigioni or felton.

    novak should only be brought in if everyone is cold. dude can’t guard a rock….

  4. paulhargis53 - May 16, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Knicks are done tonight. Pacers by 9.

  5. eventhorizon04 - May 16, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    So there are 3 reasons why small lineups can have a better rebound differential than big lineups.

    1. Most small-ball lineups are very efficient offensively. If your offense scores at a high percentage, that leaves fewer defensive rebound opportunities for your opponents. An ultra-small team that shoots 60% from the field likely gives up fewer defensive rebounds than a big-team that shoots 30% from the field.

    The Knicks in general – and Carmelo in particular – have been very efficient offensively when they go small.

    2. Sometimes, going big doesn’t mean improving your rebounding rate. Some “bigs” aren’t very good rebounders, so putting them on the court increases the “average height” of the team but doesn’t help rebounding.

    Kenyon Martin is a good but not great rebounder at this point in his career. He averaged 5 rebounds per game in the regular season, and just 7.5 rebounds on a per-36 minute basis (so even with more playing time, he’s not getting you 10+ rebounds).

    3. If by going small, your team is adding an extra 3-point shooter, that means one of your opponent’s bigs (likely the power forward) is hanging out near the 3-point line instead of setting up in the paint on defense. That means your center is in a 1-on-1 fight for rebounds in the paint.

    For a team like the Knicks, Chandler is by far their best defensive rebounder, so the effect of Carmelo Anthony dragging the opposing power forward away from the paint due to his jump-shooting range helps the team’s rebounding more than adding an extra “big” like Kenyon Martin who allows the opposing defense to play their power-forward near the basket.

    • eventhorizon04 - May 16, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      However, that last point illustrates how important Chandler’s one-on-one battle with Hibbert is.

      Everybody is talking about Carmelo struggling against Paul George, but Chandler requiring help to deal with Hibbert is a big reason why the Knicks are down 3-1.

      The Knicks’ small-ball identity requires Chandler be a terrific rebounder and individual defender since he’s the only guy taller than 6’8″ on the floor for the Knicks when they go small (meaning he’s the only Knick on the court who can physically matchup against opposing centers).

      In other words, he needs to clamp down on Hibbert defensively and beat Hibbert on the boards. Hibbert killed him 2 games ago, and the team began doubling Hibbert last game (which led to open 3-pointers for the Pacers).

      Melo and JR’s struggles are getting the most press, but Chandler’s struggles are a huge deal too.

  6. stlouis1baseball - May 16, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    You guys can continuously mix your lineups all you want.
    There will be a few consistent things you can count on from Indiana.

    1) Man-to-man…in your face…lock down defense
    2) A rebounding clinic
    3) Ball distribution

    I like our chances.

    Go Pacers!

  7. nycalldayz - May 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    The Knicks are in a tough spot with their roster. Their big men can’t shoot or spread the ball. Tyson, Martin and Camby can’t shoot. A’mare, Novack and Coppeland can’t defend so basically Woodson is out of solutions. If Melo and Smith are two only options, then you’re in trouble.

  8. goodellwearspanties - May 16, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    It doesn’t matter, the Knicks are going to get sent packing tonight. Enjoy the fishing and golf fellas. The casket closes tonight, don’t forget to wear black to the press conference after the game.

    • miaheat305 - May 16, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      I bet they’ll be golfing or fishing somewhere in Miami lol.

  9. miaheater - May 16, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    The Knicks are done, funeral time, don’t forget to wear black tonight fellas, the casket is closing.

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