What was the difference between the Knicks losing game 1 of their semi-final match-up against the Indiana Pacers and them winning game 2?
Carmelo Anthony's shooting percentage.
After shooting 38% in the first round series against Boston, Melo shot 10-28 (36%) in the Knicks game 1 loss to Indiana. In a word - yikes!
Game 2 win: 13-26 (50%).
There are several things that the Knicks need to do in order to be successful. Play defense. Make their three point shots. But by far the most important factor is Melo playing efficient.
This round presents an interesting match-up for Anthony - who is playing the 4 in a small Knicks lineup. He will be guarded Primarily by David West - a more canonical power forward. Anthony certainly has the speed and skill advantage in this situation to get any shot he wants. He can certainly get by West at will. But the Pacers also have another player named Roy Hibbert, who is 7'2" and waiting at the rim
Hibbert is averaging 4.5 blocks in the first two games (and has altered countless more).
Melo has 20 lay-up attempts in the first two game this series.
Believe it or not he has made only 7 of those attempts (35%) and has been blocked 8 times!
I'm gonna say there is some sort of correlation between Melo's shooting percentage at the rim and Hibbert's presence.
So here is a suggestion.
When Hibbert is in the game: Melo should post up or blow by his man for his mid-range shot. Or, perhaps ironically, like a point guard kick out to his three point shooters. And fear not, Melo is a guy capable of scoring 50 points without taking a singe shot in the paint.
But When Hibbert is not in the game...... do this:
Looks like a recipe for success!
And speaking of looking......
Look at the disparate facial expressions in reaction to Melo's dunk between Patrick Ewing and his companion. Actually, look at her face compared to everyone around her:
Ewing has been on both sides of this equation before - so while he may have been genuinely elated by Anthony's power move, I can understand if perhaps his emotions were tempered with empathy for Jeff Pendergraph.
She, on the other hand, has no reservations about conveying how nasty that dunk was.
Way to not hold anything back Ms.
Way to support Melo and his efficient play.
So what do you think her facial expression was after this?
Flat top almost rim level!