NBA

Knicks host Pacers, Grizzlies visit Thunder in NBA playoffs

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The Sports Network
5/7/2013 10:56:07 AM
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(Sports Network) - The New York Knicks will try to even their series with the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night when the two sides duke it out in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden.

The Pacers came into the Big Apple on Sunday and won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, 102-95. Indiana has stolen the home-court advantage from the Knicks, but that doesn't mean the Pacers are taking Tuesday's game lightly.

"We have the mindset that Game 2 is a must-win and we have to go after it," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "You're going to see incredible desperation on (the Knicks') part, and we have to exceed that."

In Game 1, David West led a bruising effort from Indiana's great front line. He finished with 20 points, followed by 19 from All-Star and Most Improved Player Paul George, and 14 from Roy Hibbert.

The Pacers used their excellent team defense on Sunday, holding the Knicks to 19 points in both the second and third quarters. Some Knicks hinted that the Pacers went after Carmelo Anthony's injured shoulder, which could possibly explain his 10-for-28 shooting afternoon.

"I'm going to stand my ground," said George, who has the primary task of shutting down the NBA's leading scorer. "I'm not a player to go after injuries or try to hurt guys. I want the best out of 'Melo. I don't want to hurt 'Melo and limit him."

George Hill added 14 points and Lance Stephenson continued his great run during the playoffs with 11 points and 13 rebounds. D.J. Augustin chipped in 16 points off the bench in just under 13 minutes.

The Knicks universally agreed the Pacers outworked them in Game 1.

"They beat us on the glass, they beat us to the loose basketballs out there, the hustle plays, and they outworked us," Anthony said.

Anthony led the way with 27 points, but it came on 28 shots. He did grab 11 rebounds.

Raymond Felton once again played very well. He had 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. J.R. Smith, the Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA, had 17 off the bench and Kenyon Martin added 12 in a reserve role. Iman Shumpert scored 11.

One of New York's biggest problems has been the shooting of Anthony and Smith. The two were sensational scorers for the Knicks in the regular season, but have struggled shooting in this postseason. Anthony is shooting 37 percent from the field and Smith is at 36 percent.

"It helps to get to the free-throw line some," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said after practice on Monday. "Sometimes, some of the difficult shots you're accustomed to making, that you're not making, you've got to find a way to take better shots. I think they're capable of doing that. Only time will tell."

Amare Stoudemire returned to practice on Monday, but is not expected to play on Tuesday night. He underwent right knee surgery in mid-March and with Game 3 not until Saturday, Stoudemire will probably be in uniform once the series moves to Indianapolis.

"If he doesn't have any setbacks, then he'll probably suit up Saturday," Woodson said of Stoudemire.

Game 3 will be Saturday in Indianapolis.

Grizzlies at Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to successfully defend their home-court and take a 2-0 series lead Tuesday night when they tangle with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Thunder took Game 1 of the series, 93-91, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

After trailing much of the game and even by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter, Kevin Durant led the charge for OKC. He tallied 12 in the final frame alone and his 19-foot jumper with 11.1 seconds left lifted the Thunder to the Game 1 victory.

"They have such a great team defense, I just wanted to get up the floor as quick as possible and find a shot," said Durant. "That was the only shot I could find and by the grace of God, it went in."

Durant posted 35 points and 15 rebounds, both of which were game highs. Kevin Martin had a great afternoon as well with 25 points off the bench thanks to 3- for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Reggie Jackson, starting for the injured Russell Westbrook, was the only other Thunder player in double digits with 12.

The unsung hero for the Thunder in Game 1 was the big-man combination of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. The two did a relatively good job of containing Memphis' bigs, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Ibaka and Perkins, who played very few minutes in OKC's first-round series against the Houston Rockets, limited the Grizzlies' duo to a combined 38 points and 20 rebounds.

"Good teams aren't good unless they have players that understand their roles," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "And that's everybody -- even your best players -- they have to understand their roles. The good thing I like about our team is everybody's role is to defend."

Defense is Memphis' calling card. The Grizzlies did hold the third-leading scoring team in the NBA during the regular season 12 points under their average.

"We had opportunities, we just didn't execute as well offensively or defensively," said Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins.

Randolph and Gasol paced the Grizzlies. Mike Conley chipped in 13, as did Quincy Pondexter off the bench. Jerryd Bayless also had a good night as a reserve with 10 points.

Sunday's effort was solid and the Grizzlies' performance was actually very good. Sometimes, good offense can actually trump good defense, contrary to any popular mantras you hear.

"Kevin Durant's a great player and he got going to make some good shots," said Hollins. "Talk about whatever you want to talk about, but he made those shots. That last one was a great play. They were down one and he made that shot to put them up one. Not everybody is making that shot at that particular point."

Now, Memphis will try to avoid falling down 0-2. The Grizzlies have won three of their last six in OKC.

Game 3 will be Saturday evening in Memphis.

Carmelo Anthony (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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