For the first time this postseason, the New York Knicks are in serious trouble.
Already down 2-1 in their second round series to the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks face a must win situation Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, a place where they haven’t won this season in three tries.
If the Knicks return to The Garden in a 3-1 hole, their season is realistically all but over as only eight teams have even come back from down 3-1 to win a seven-game series.
Given the way they have played for most of the series, how can the Knicks avoid that from happening?
There are a lot of adjustments that Mike Woodson’s team needs to make.
Let’s take a look at where they can start.
1. Defend, Defend, Defend
The Pacers aren’t a team that typically scores a lot of points and they are only shooting 43 percent from the floor this series as a team. But they are having a field day scoring in the paint. The Knicks must make it a point to make it very tough to score inside and make the Pacers a perimeter shooting team, where they are only shooting 32 percent in the series.
2. Crash the Glass
The Pacers were the top rebounding team in the NBA this season and it showed big time in Game 3. Indiana had 13 more total boards (53-40) and eight more on the offensive end (18-10). For the series, the Pacers hold a plus-25 advantage on the glass. That can’t happen anymore as the Knicks must make an effort to be more aggressive rebounding. That needs to start with Tyson Chandler as Roy Hibbert is owning him on the glass. Hibbert is averaging close to 11 rebounds per game in the series while Chandler has averaged only four. That’s as telling as a sign as any.
3. Move the ball
Chandler called the Knicks a selfish team offensively and it’s hard to argue much against that statement. You aren’t going to beat a good defensive team like the Pacers primarily with isolation. The ball has to move much more. That doesn’t mean the Knicks should go away from the isolation sets, but they have to make the Pacers work more defensively. That means more ball movement.