The second round will pit the Knicks against an even tougher defensive-minded team in the Indiana Pacers, with whom they split their regular season series.
This slideshow will examine the keys for the Knicks in order for them to have the best chance of taking down the Pacers.
The Pacers are the best rebounding team in the league, averaging a total of 54.7 rebounds per game as a team (per Team Rankings).
On the other end of the spectrum, the Knicks are 26th in the league in total rebounds per game. Rebounding has been one of their weaknesses throughout the entire year.
Part of the reason why the Knicks have been struggling on the boards is the team's excessive use of small lineups, which gives most opposing teams a significant size advantage.
This will most likely be the same case against the Pacers. The Knicks' small-ball has been working for them this year, but the Pacers combination of great defensive efficiency and great rebounding might force the Knicks to adjust their lineup.
The Knicks got away with questionable shot selection against the Celtics in the first round, but they won't be able to make the same mistake against the Pacers.
The Pacers have the best defensive efficiency in the league (per Hollinger's Team Stats), and they've held that spot for most of the season.
With every bad shot that the Knicks take, there won't be much opportunity to get a second-chance possession. The Pacers' exceptional rebounding ability and team defense will not allow to the Knicks to get into any kind of rhythm if they miss shot after shot.
Every possession is crucial in this series, as the Pacers will slow down the pace of the game. The Knicks cannot afford any wasted possessions by taking bad shots.
Although Paul George plays the same position as Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks will have a much more difficult time containing George in this series.
On the other end of the court, George's energy and defensive prowess will make Anthony work for every shot.
Anthony is probably the best matchup against George, but he cannot be expected to guard George for the entire game, especially since the Knicks rely on him to be their primary scorer.
On the other hand, George doesn't need to expend all his energy on offense, since David West, George Hill and Roy Hibbert are all viable scoring options for Indiana.
The Knicks roster does not boast one player who can defend George by himself. They will need to maintain a suffocating team defense in order to stop his dribble penetration and playmaking.
That's easier said than done.