The Knicks really never made a push in this game and were consistently overmatched from start to finish. The Pacers outplayed and outworked them once again and the Knicks looked both lifeless most of the time. Carmelo Anthony had a good first half, but the Knicks still saw themselves down 15 at the break and were never able to recover. A combination of poor second half from Melo and an overall poor shooting performance by the team wasn’t enough to make it close against one of the league’s top defenses.
Felton recovered after a brutal Game 3 performance at Indiana where he went 1/8 from the field. He looked to be back on track tonight with a 7/16 performance, but most of his value came from three steals and two blocks while facilitating the ball. He was able to get to the basket multiple times off the pick and wasn’t short of effort.
No one doubts his ability to put up points, but it has to be in an efficient manner for the Knicks to win. JR’s 19 points tonight was a little deceiving, as he hit a couple of garbage-time makes towards the end of the game. If you include those, he still comes away with 7/22 shooting and 3/10 from three. Many of his misses came at times where the Knicks desperately needed a bucket to propel them back into the game and cut the lead. Whether it was bad shot attempts or he was just off, what he brought tonight isn’t going to cut it and may mark one of his last games as a Knick.
As mentioned, Melo looked sharp in the first half as he looked towards shooting 50% for the first game in these playoffs, but he tapered off in the second half and in effect, the team followed his lead. It seemed as though he was picking up fouls rather than playing solid defense on some plays and when the Knicks needed him most to make a big time second half push, he was nowhere to be found to carry them or get hot and start his own run.
Chandler finally showed up for the first time this series. With a few solid-to-very good games against Indiana during the regular season, there had to be some question of what was wrong with Chandler right now. After being embarrassed for the first three games by Roy Hibbert, he was able to grab double-digit boards for the first time and also posted a double-double with 12 points included. His 3 blocks and 7 offensive rebounds were encouraging as well, and he’ll need to carry this momentum into Game 5 if the Knicks want any chance of making this a series.
For the minutes he played tonight (28), he performed very poorly compared to how he has looked for the Knicks since getting him. His couples of blocks were a plus, but it’s not too much to ask for a few points out of him with a few more rebounds (5 tonight) as well.
Most of the key players ate up all the minutes tonight and there wasn’t much left over for the reserves. A primary note is that Jason Kidd was held scoreless once again and he hasn’t been able to score a single point since Game 2 vs. Boston (3 points). Shumpert wasn’t able to score a point in his 16 minutes and 6 shot attempts, but much can be attributed to a bothersome knee that was visible at multiple points of the game. The Knicks were clearly missing his perimeter defense and he will need to be at full strength for the Knicks in Game 5, especially if J.R. cant get it going. A major question that Mike Woodson should be facing is why it took so long to bring in Chris Copeland and Steve Novak, when it seemed like nothing else he was rolling out there was working. Copeland looked good in his 12 minutes and Novak was able to knock down a 3-pointer in his miniscule single minute on the floor, but all was too little, too late.