It is game three of the Mike Woodson era. Games one and two have been pretty smooth. Don’t expect game three to follow suit.
Indiana is not going to roll over again tonight. I’m not saying New York will lose, but I would be shocked if this game was another Knicks blowout. I expect the Pacers, 25-17, to come out and fight after last night’s embarrassing loss. The 20-24 Knicks must continue to shoot the ball well. I was extremely impressed with New York’s defense last night and I expect the defense to be solid again tonight. However, that is not the key to victory. The Knicks defense has been top 10 all season. If the Knicks can continue their hot shooting, they should move to 3-0 under Woody Woodson.
Here’s what to watch for:
- Tyson Chandler vs Roy Hibbert. The Pacers 7’2 center was manhandled by Chandler last night. Chandler out hustled, out played and out classed, the first year all star, Hibbert. I expect that to happen again tonight. I don’t think Hibbert will go 2/10, but I don’t expect him to dominate in this game at all. I think Hibbert is a bit soft and I think Chandler will dominate him mentally and physically. If Chandler can set the tone defensively tonight, like last night, the Knicks should dominate the Indiana offense.
- JR Smith’s shooting. He’s had two great shooting games in a row and needs to keep that trend going. His scoring/outside shooting is absolutely crucial to New York’s success. The team has struggled to consistently score points this year and Smith has been part of that. Obviously, he hasn’t been around as long, but he has been wildly inconsistent. Smith has upped his 3 point shooting percentage to 34% on the season and I look for him to further up that percentage tonight.
- Will the Knicks keep Granger’s foot in his mouth? Pacers small forward Danny Granger pissed off the Knicks when he said that these two games were “winnable games”. The Knicks showed up Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Granger didn’t. He shot just 4/15 and scored 9 points. I loved seeing him shoot brick after brick after brick. I expect Granger to play better tonight, he couldn’t play any worse. Granger can get hot in a hurry which could kill the Knicks, who still have a very mediocre perimeter defense. The Knicks have to make sure they keep Granger from killing them tonight. Melo has actually been pretty good defensively this year so I don’t expect this to be a problem.
- I want to see more Novak championship belts tonight. If he hits 4/8 from downtown again, its almost a sure bet that the Knicks will win the game.
- Here’s Kate Upton eating a jalapeño cheeseburger: