New York Knicks’ Keys to Victory In Game 3 Against Indiana Pacers
Knicks Keys to Victory in Game 3
The New York Knicks lost both regular season games against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, and they'll be looking to change that in Game 3 on Saturday. Both teams split the first two games of their Conference Semifinals series at New York City's Madison Square Garden, and the Knicks can easily pull off a win on the road so long as a certain plan of attack is followed.
The Pacers are a team that gave the Knicks a lot of trouble this season, and the playoffs thus far have been no exception. This means that not only must Indiana's defense (which ranked first in rebounding and second in points allowed during the regular season) be kept in check, but their seemingly weak scoring attack must not be underestimated. Though the team ranked just 23rd in points scored, they like to play a fast-paced game, and we all know how much the Knicks struggled against teams that like to run this season.
This means that New York just needs to have one goal in mind for Game 3: keep the Pacers on their heels at all times. Be it mixing up the scoring attack or just being fully committed to excellent on-ball defense, this is a game that is going to be a turning point in the series. So long as the Knicks want the win more and stay committed to their plan of attack, a win can be had.
Yes, winning on the road is never easy, but the Knicks can prove that belief wrong by following these simple keys to victory.
No. 5: Contain Paul George By Any Means Necessary
With Danny Granger having missed most of the season due to a knee injury, George did a great job of stepping up as the new star of the team and face of the franchise in Indiana. In an All-Star season, he posted 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. With great dunking abilities and a developing jump shot, his future is as bright as can be.
But the fact remains that George is still highly inexperienced when it comes to being a solid go-to guy. When push comes to shove, he is still more of a slasher and not so much a top scorer who can be a threat from anywhere on the floor. During the regular season, he shot just 42 percent from the field and 36 percent from long range.
He has been solid in the series against New York thus far, posting 19.5 points and 4.5 boards per game while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 33 percent from downtown, but his inexperience looks to be catching up with him.
On New York's end, this means that their plan for defending George is simple: do not let him drive the lane under any circumstances and if he does, ensure that there is always a body on him. By forcing him out of his comfort zone and making him rely on a hit-or-miss jumper, Indiana's offense could easily stall and open up plenty of doors for the Knicks.
No. 4: Keep Roy Hibbert At Bay
At 7-foot-2, 280 pounds, Hibbert is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the paint. After posting 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game during the regular season, he has kept up his solid production against the Knicks in the playoffs to the tune of 10 points, 10 rebounds and a whopping 4.5 blocks per contest while shooting 56 percent from the field.
Those numbers have made it incredibly difficult for the Knicks to have a strong offensive attack in the paint this series and if they can find a way to keep Hibbert guessing or even fake him out in any way, then winning Game 3 is definitely within reach. This man plays great defense, and a definite key to victory is making sure that he is off his game even just a little bit.
No. 3: Get Tyson Chandler More Involved
Now, let's just establish that for most of the postseason, Chandler has not been himself. This is because for the final month of the season, he was dealing with a bulging disc in his neck and missed a lot of games down the stretch. In the playoffs thus far, he is averaging just 5.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while attempting just under four shots from the field per contest. In the Conference Semis, he is averaging six points and 3.5 rebounds per game, plus one block.
The fact is that in order for Hibbert to be kept at bay, Chandler needs to get more involved on both ends of the floor. He must be willing to play the low post and get a little banged up instead of worry about his injury. If there are opportunities to demand alley-oops, he must call for them.
This is the same man who won the Defensive Player of the Year award last season and if he can recapture the same type of fire that earned him the trophy in 2012, then he can definitely be an impact player in Game 3 in 2013.
No. 2: Make the Most of Amar'e Stoudemire's Minutes
After missing several weeks due to yet another knee surgery, Stoudemire will make his return to the court in Game 3 and, according to Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York, play 10-15 minutes. In his new role as New York's big man off the bench, Stoudemire appeared in 19 games and averaged 14.2 points and five rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game thanks to his much-improved low post presence.
That said, even though his playing time is going to be limited in Game 3, Stoudemire's minutes need to be utilized properly. This means that Knicks head coach Mike Woodson needs to draw up plays that let the six-time All Star use his back-to-the-basket game the most and his jumper only as necessary.
Stoudemire can actually be effective this way, as he is of absolutely no use to his team just standing on the hardwood in uniform and doing nothing. By using his low post attack and thus potentially stretching the floor for his teammates that can shoot, New York's chances of winning Game 3 on the road would instantly increase.
No. 1: Keep Carmelo Anthony's Offense Intelligent
Entering Game 2 of this series, the story of Anthony's offense was that it was ineffective and streaky. So far in the playoffs, he is averaging 29.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. However, he is shooting just 39 percent from the field and 28 percent from long range. In a time when his team needs him the most, he appears to have gone cold.
That's what critics were saying before Anthony absolutely lit up in New York's 105-79 Game 2 victory. In 35 minutes, the man scored 32 points on 13 of 26 shooting and also pulled down nine rebounds. This is because rather than rely on creating off the dribble in the mid-range and being 3-pointer happy, Anthony instead drove the lane and took high-percentage shots. Rather than try and do it all at once, he played a very smart offense.
Anthony needs to do more of the same in Game 3, as his Knicks are on the road and the loud and rowdy Indiana fans are going to be giving their Pacers everything they possibly can. By sticking to his game plan of Game 2 and adjusting as necessary, he can keep the young Indiana team guessing as to just how he can be defended.
A strong game from Anthony means a strong chance that the Knicks win, and him going off again in Game 3 would definitely help New York gain an edge in the series.
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