Emerging Storylines to Watch in NY Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Series

Mathias AskCorrespondent IIMay 13, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 11: Head coach Mike Woodson and Raymond Felton #2 of the New York Knicks look on against the Indiana Pacers during game three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 11, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers won 82-71. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The New York Knicks trail, 2-1, in their Eastern Conference NBA playoff series against the Indiana Pacers and now it’s truly crunch time for the blue and orange. 

The biggest question mark for the Knicks throughout the playoffs has been consistency. They were inconsistent against the Boston Celtics and still are against the Pacers. 

It's a question as to which Knicks team is going to step out on the court Tuesday night for Game 4. Will it be the high-scoring team from Game 2 that held Indiana to 13 points in the fourth quarter or the same Knicks bunch from Game 1 and Game 3 that ended up getting slapped around by the Pacers' offense? 

Every Knicks fan is praying that Game 2 is what the team really is about and that the Knickerbockers can bounce back on Tuesday and even the series before they go back to the Garden. 

For that to happen, however, there are several storylines the Knicks will have to watch out for on the court.


Can Carmelo Anthony get back to his regular season form?

The primary reason Knicks fans were so excited for the playoffs was because Carmelo Anthony ended the regular season shooting more than 50 percent consistently and had several 40-plus points games. 

There haven’t been a lot of those in this series or the entire playoffs. 

Melo went 13-of-26 in Game 2, but it wasn’t the turning point the Knicks had been hoping for from him. In Game 3, he was right back to shooting 6-of-16

It might be a little unfair to bring up Anthony’s Game 3 numbers since he was the only Knick reaching double digits, and trust me, I will get to the others, but the fact remains that he’s the leader of this team. It’s his responsibility to lead by example—end of story.


Can the Knicks stop Roy Hibbert?

If the Knicks are going to get anywhere in this series, they need to figure out a way to stop Roy Hibbert immediately. 

The 7’2” center had a great night on Saturday and ended up with a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. 

Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin were nothing but bystanders as Hibbert tore the Knicks' defense a new one.

Chandler should be the biggest concern for the Knicks. He is not looking like himself this postseason. The way last year’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year has been playing would make Mike Woodson tear out his hair, if he had any to start. 

There are three days between Game 3 and 4. Hopefully, the Knicks are spending the time prepping so they don’t have to suffer another monster performance at the hands of Hibbert.


Is J.R. Smith focusing on other things than basketball? 

Speaking of preparation, what is going on with J.R. Smith this postseason? 

If you’re spotted at a nightclub with Rihanna during the playoffs, then that’s probably not a good sign, especially when you’re shooting 33 percent in the playoffs and 26 percent in the series. 

J.R. has taken to Twitter to defend himself, but the only way that is going to get people off his back is if he starts shooting better. If he was averaging 55 percent shooting, the outrage wouldn’t be anywhere near the level it is right now. 

One also has to wonder if Smith’s recent fever is in any way related to his nightlife festivities. J.R. played only 25 minutes in Game 3 and now Woodson is saying that he’s worried that the rest of the team might get sick as well. 

It’s bad enough to be knocked out by the Pacers. To be knocked out by a virus would be horrible.


What is the role of Amar’e on this team?           

Amar’e Stoudemire came back in Game 3, but his contributions were underwhelming. He played nine minutes and gave the Knicks seven points on 3-of-8 shooting and two rebounds.  

The Knicks have been trying to figure out for two years how to win when Anthony and Stoudemire are both getting minutes, but they don’t seem to be any closer to a solution. 

It will be interesting to see how Woodson decides to use Amar’e in Game 4. If the Knicks’ outside shooters aren’t performing, is Woodson going to play Stoudemire for 20 minutes or is he afraid that the power forward might injure himself again? 

Nevertheless, the Knicks find themselves in a hole and whether it’s going to be Anthony, J.R. or Stoudemire, somebody needs to step up.