After getting off to hot a start in the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the New York Knicks have struggled mightily in the past week.
The club went up 3-0 on the Boston Celtics, but has since lost three out of their last four games. Even as they beat the Celtics and advanced to the second round, New York narrowly avoided an epic fourth quarter collapse in the closing game of the series.
The Knicks will look to turn things around on Tuesday night as they host the Indiana Pacers in Game Two of their second round series. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET on TNT. Viewers can watch a free live stream online with TNT Overtime.
Indiana will try to take a commanding 2-0 series lead without playing a home game. New York entered the series as the favorites, but that quickly changed with the Pacers victory on Sunday.
The Knicks struggles have gone hand in hand with the play of Carmelo Anthony. In the Knicks first three postseason wins, Anthony averaged 32 points per game. Since then, he’s missed 75 of his 110 shot attempts.
J.R. Smith, the Knicks second-leading scorer, has also been ineffective. Since coming back from his suspension in Game Four against the Celtics, Smith has made just 28.6 percent of his shots. In the last month of the regular season, Smith closed out the season strong, shooting 48.3 percent from the field.
The biggest reason Anthony and Smith couldn’t find success in Game One was a stingy Pacers defense. Indiana had one of the best defenses in the regular season, allowing 90.7 points per contest and grabbing an NBA-leading 45.9 rebounds a game.
Roy Hibbert forced the Knicks to shoot extremely poorly from close range, blocking five shots and altering several more. The center frustrated New York, who missed numerous layups and was unable to get to the foul line.
In the regular season, the Knicks were able to offset poor inside shooting with a lot of three-point shots. They were unable to do so in Game One against a team who defends the three better than anyone else. New York took just 19 shots from beyond the arc, which is more than four less than their season average.
Steve Novak has said he should be able to go on Tuesday after missing the past two games with back spasms. He could be a key in helping the Knicks get their outside shooting going. He shot 41.4 percent from three-point range in the regular season.
Betting Line: New York -6, 183
Prediction: New York 95, Indiana 85