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Props Slaps
 5 years ago '04        #9821
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

The Knicks went big in Indianapolis — and lost big. Now embattled coach Mike Woodson is ready to admit his mistake.

The Knicks are expected to go back to small-ball tonight in looking for their season’s most giant victory in do-or-die Game 5 at the Garden. Carmelo Anthony will head back to his customary power forward position as he tries to save the season from becoming a disaster.

The Knicks, looking to become the ninth NBA team to rally from a 3-1 deficit, need three straight victories over the big and burly Pacers to secure an Eastern Conference finals showdown against the Heat. A Knicks trifecta, considering the way they have lost confidence all at once, seems as unlikely as LeBron James winning the mayoral election in Cleveland.

Woodson is expected to reinsert Pablo Prigioni into the starting lineup and take out Kenyon Martin, who started at power forward in Tuesday’s 93-82 Game 4 debacle at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The big lineup of Melo-Martin-Tyson Chandler didn’t help their rebounding woes and certainly didn’t help their offense.

The Knicks were 16-2 with Prigioni in the starting lineup in the two-point guard alignment that began in Utah on March 18. The popular Prigioni, who could be playing his final game as a Knick tonight, logged just 3:26 off the bench as Woodson stuck with Jason Kidd, who set a record by going scoreless for his eighth straight playoff game.

Woodson had wanted to combat the Pacers’ size and was also influenced by Iman Shumpert’s iffy status because of his sore knee. Woodson thought Shumpert wouldn’t play and was set to replace him with Martin, who went scoreless in 28:54 and had just five rebounds. He was also playing with the flu and a possible wrist injury.

“I’m contemplating doing that,’’ Woodson said of his return to smallball. “That lineup has been great for us for a couple of months. I went away from it [Tuesday] night to go big and a lot of that was based on guys not being in practice and not too sure about Iman. That lineup has been good and there’s a strong chance we go right back to that lineup.’’

After practice, the struggling J.R. Smith huddled with Knicks executive John Starks and they spoke for about 10 minutes. Starks, who is in alumni relations, rarely attends practice, but these are desperate times.

The Knicks probably are concerned with Smith’s mental state after he took full blame for the Knicks’ collapse amid his massive shooting slump. Yesterday, Woodson tried to deflect the attention from Smith.

When asked about Smith’s bold declaration, Woodson said he is the one to blame and indeed has been outcoached by Indiana’s Frank Vogel.

“It’s not about all of that,’’ Woodson said. “Again, I’m the head coach. Blame it on me. I don’t look at it in that light. The bottom line is we’re all trying to do the right things to win basketball games. If we don’t have the slippage to start the series, we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves. But right now our backs are against the wall and my job is to get us out of this hole.’’

After the loss, Smith said, “I take the blame for this whole series. I’ve been letting my teammates down, I’ve been letting my coaches down, and it doesn’t feel good.”

Yesterday, Smith continued to answer questions, while Anthony, Chandler, Kidd and Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t make themselves available to the media.

“I’m very disappointed to be in the position that we’re in, but we’re still not out of it,’’ Smith said. “We’re still in a good position to where we can still make some noise.’’

“We embrace the challenge,’’ Shumpert added. “We just got to win. It’s been done before.’’

It’s not too farfetched to blame almost all of it on Smith. His 26-of-91 shooting slump coincided with returning from a one-game suspension for elbowing the Celtics’ Jason Terry that may ultimately be viewed as the season’s turning point.

The Knicks probably would have swept Boston in four games if not for Smith’s suspension. That would have allowed the Knicks valuable rest before the Pacers’ series. Instead they went six games, had one day off and Woodson had them unprepared emotionally in the Game 1 Garden loss, losing home-court advantage.

“We win Game 1, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,’’ Woodson said. “It would be in our favor going into Game 5. We let the one game slip away. That’s what you play for when you venture out to play playoff basketball. Now we’re in a hole and we got to dig our way out of a hole by winning a game [tonight]. If we can, the series goes back [to Indiana]. We got to see what they’re made of in Game 6.’’
 5 years ago '04        #9822
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Hahn

Jason Kidd's shooting, at this point, should be factored in misses. The numbers are stunning. More:

The 40-year-old veteran has missed 87.5% of his shots (21 of 24) in 10 playoff games. And if you consider that he started out hitting a respectable 3 of 7 in the first two games of the postseason, that leaves a drought of 17 straight misses over the last eight games.

His last made basket came in Game 2 against the Celtics. But that's just the tip of this very, very cold iceberg.

Kidd hasn't made a TWO point basket at all in the playoffs. Including a failed layup in Game 4 in Indiana, Kidd is 0-for-7 from inside the arc. In fact, his last two-point hoop came April 7, in that impressive win at Oklahoma City.

And doesn't that game now feel like an eternity ago.

Since that shot -- a layup off a pass from J.R. Smith with 4:24 left in the third quarter -- Kidd has missed nine straight shots inside the arc, including the playoffs. So obviously, he doesn't take a lot of shots inside the arc.

But he had been pretty effective when he has taken two-pointers, as few as they were this season. He made 38 of 84 attempts from inside the arc, which is 45.2%. He shot 35% from three-point range (114 for 325).

Kidd's offense is troubling, especially with the Pacers now leaving him to shoot shots that they know, and Kidd knows, he doesn't want to take. Kidd's hesitation to shoot screams out the lack of confidence he has in his shot.

But despite signs of a swift and depressing decline in the future Hall of Famer's skills, Mike Woodson still sees value in Kidd on the floor. He is averaging 4.2 rebounds, 2.4 a.ssists and 1.1 steals in 23.5 minutes per game in the playoffs.

"I will never kick J-Kidd to the curb, man," Woodson said. "I mean, Kidd has been a positive for our club, our franchise, these players that play around him. We all still believe in Kidd.

"My thing is, I still think he does some of the intangibles that might not show up, in terms of scoring the ball, to help you win."

Kidd isn't shooting a high volume (2.4 FGA per game in the playoffs), but his shooting woes allow the Pacers to drop him on their list of defensive priorities. And since his 40-year-old legs don't allow him to go to the basket anymore with much success, he can be viewed as a liability if he can't make a shot.

But he's still Jason Kidd. Is there still a part of you that believes he still has a few big shots left in him?
 5 years ago '08        #9823
AC_89 196 heat pts196
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Kidd hasn't made a TWO point basket at all in the playoffs.


 5 years ago '04        #9824
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Knicks are undefeated (6-0) in the playoffs when they hit more 3's than their opponents
 5 years ago '10        #9825
SwooshWonder 13 heat pts13
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We need to use the younger cats....


Last edited by SwooshWonder; 05-17-2013 at 08:16 AM..
 5 years ago '04        #9826
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

Chris Copeland, a training-camp long shot who spent part of the season lugging around a pink knapsack as part of rookie hazing, may turn into a very attractive piece on the free-agent market.

Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald likely hopes Copeland will be part of the team’s future plans, especially after coach Mike Woodson finally turned to him in the crunch of a do-or-die Game 5 and he delivered 13 points and four rebounds in his 19 unexpected minutes in the Knicks’ 85-75 win over the Pacers Thursday night at the Garden.

Of all the summer additions, Copeland became the biggest revelation — even if Woodson refused to use him in the playoffs until Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Considering his numbers, versatility and a changing league bent on 3-pointers, Copeland may seek Steve Novak money, according to a person familiar with the situation. Novak landed a four-year, $16 million package last summer. Copeland has become a more versatile scorer — a 3-point specialist who can put the ball on the floor and score in the post.

Novak got the big number from the Knicks because, through an appeal with the Player’s a.ssociation, they were awarded Novak’s early Bird rights.

The Knicks won’t have any such rights in retaining the obscure Belgian Leaguer. The only other team that sent a scout last season to the Belgian League to watch Copeland was Miami, according to a source. It was quite a find by European scout Kevin Wilson, who is regarded highly in the organization.

The Knicks will extend Copeland his $900,000 qualifying offer to keep him restricted so they can match an offer. But they may be prohibited from matching any offer more than $3 million.

They would have to use one of their precious exceptions — the $1.9 million biannual exception or the $3 million mini mid-level exception given to luxury taxpayers. The Knicks don’t have the full $5 million mid-level because of their lousy cap situation. Copeland makes the league minimum, $473,000, this season.

* Amar’e Stoudemire played six minutes and none in the second half, finishing with two points without a field-goal attempt. He was not available for comment after the game. ... The Knicks committed just 10 turnovers. The Knicks’ 3-point shooting, which had been a weak spot recently, was much better last night. They made 7-of-18 attempts. ... Indiana’s Lance Stephenson had a rough night. Not only did he get slammed to the floor by Tyson Chandler on a dunk attempt, he finished 1-of-7 from the field.
 5 years ago '04        #9827
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Ian O'Connor

NEW YORK -- Mike Woodson might have been a game or three too late to show this side of his character, the cold, unforgiving side that left Jason Kidd and Amar'e Stoudemire on the bench for the entire second half of a playoff game the New York Knicks had no choice but to win.

But show it Woodson most certainly did Thursday night, when he effectively told two prominent stars -- including one of the greatest point guards of all time -- that they might as well get comfortable in their chairs, butter up their popcorn and watch an ex-D-Leaguer who had chased his hoop dreams all over Europe play for their season.

Chris Copeland, 29-year-old rookie, is a zillion-to-one character borrowed from a Hollywood script, his long braids flying along with his longer jumpers. It's hard to believe in a Chris Copeland, cut twice from second-division teams in Spain, a guy not even pulling in half a mil, and so Woodson didn't believe in him in Game 4. The coach removed Copeland 29 seconds after he made a 3 early in the fourth quarter, and he was rightfully ripped for it.

Woodson wouldn't make that same mistake again in Game 5, not with the Indiana Pacers holding a 3-1 series lead and not with all of New York prepared to pounce on the man who had done so much good work after replacing his overmatched boss, Mike D'Antoni. In fact, the Knicks' coach wouldn't repeat any of his unforced errors from earlier in the series, when it felt like Frank Vogel-Mike Woodson was as big a mismatch as Roy Hibbert-Tyson Chandler.

The Knicks gave away the second-round opener at home, didn't come to play after surviving their emotionally draining series with Boston, and that was an indictment of Woodson. So were the nonadjustments to Indiana's size, the premature burial of Pablo Prigioni on Tuesday night, the inability to inspire J.R. Smith, the lineup change that didn't change anything, and the failure to match Indiana's desperation and intensity.

Oh, and the insistence on playing Stoudemire and Kidd, too. Jason Kidd was sort of understandable because he's Jason Kidd, the NBA's resident Yoda. But Stoudemire, back from a second knee surgery and promising to be as rusty as he appeared upon his first return in January? Woodson's allegiance to him made little win-or-else sense.

So there Woodson stood inside Madison Square Garden for Game 5, staring at the potential for complete humiliation. If the Knicks lost this one, they would have lost the series by surrendering two home games to a lower-seeded opponent that reminds nobody of the world champion Miami Heat. Sure, Carmelo Anthony would have a.ssumed some blame as a franchise player with a miserable postseason past, but Woodson's credibility would have taken a bigger hit.

He was 0-8 in two second-round series as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, a record that got him fired. A quickie five-game loss to the Pacers wouldn't have cost Woodson his job with the Knicks, but it would have raised serious questions about his ability to lead a team deep into the playoffs.

Maybe that thought hit Woodson like a blind pick at halftime of what would be an 85-75 victory. The Knicks were up six, but it felt like they should have been up more.

Anthony had picked up an early technical, so he was one blown fuse from ejection. Kidd had missed his only shot, a breakaway layup that cruelly spun in and out and extended an amazing scoreless streak that dates back to April 23. Stoudemire had made a couple of foul shots and grabbed a couple of rebounds in his 6:34 of playing time but looked like an old man shooing a pigeon in the park when trying to scoop a ball he kicked away.

Right then and there, Woodson decided Kidd and Stoudemire could reminisce about their 15 combined All-Star Game appearances for the balance of the night while Copeland and the rest played on.

"I'm the coach," Woodson said after he'd successfully booked Game 6 in Indianapolis. "Coaching is a feel, man. I mean, it's not always what the players want. At the end of the day it's about winning. That's all I'm in it for.

"I'm sure Kidd and Amar'e probably wanted to play, but I don't think that they're going to complain about anything."

No, the complaining came from the visitors' side of the Garden. The Pacers outrebounded the Knicks by only three this time, and they missed 14 of their 33 foul shots. "If we make our free throws," Vogel said, "it's a different ballgame."

And if Game 4 hero George Hill hadn't been KO'd by a concussion suffered in that game, maybe the Pacers already would be talking about taking their talents to you-know-where.

But South Beach and the conference finals remain on hold. "I think we've got plenty to beat the Knicks with or without George Hill," Vogel maintained.

He'll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, Lance Stephenson was pulling a J.R. Smith and blaming himself for a Game 5 that saw the Lincoln High legend out of Brooklyn miss six of seven shots.

"We blew it," Stephenson said. "This was a big game in their building, and we didn't bring it."

For a change, Woodson's team was the one that brought it. Anthony scored 28 points (although on 28 shots), Raymond Felton played a strong floor game in the second half, and Copeland sank three of his four 3s, scored 13 high-energy points and tucked his 15 minutes of fame inside nearly 20 minutes of playing time.

Smith? He didn't quite bust out of his own slump, but he did take a few baby steps in the right direction hours after Rihanna, a reported love interest, posted a message to a Knicks fan on Instagram that said the sixth man kept misfiring because he was "hungover from clubbing every night during playoffs!!"

Asked before Game 5 about that posting, Woodson said, "That's the unknown. When you're coaching, you try to keep everything in house and nice and neat, and sometimes it gets away from you. J.R.'s had his ups and downs here of late, but J.R. is still a big piece to our puzzle."

A piece that came unglued in the Boston series and hasn't been the same since. The Smith ejection and suspension hardened the perception that the Knicks, Woodson's Knicks, are too quick to lose their composure when things go south.

The coach didn't get tough with Stoudemire after he punched the fire extinguisher case in Miami last spring, and he didn't get tough with Stoudemire through the first two and a half games of his latest comeback, when a slow and uncertain Amar'e did little to help his team.

That changed for Woodson and Stoudemire in the middle of Game 5, just as it changed for Woodson and Kidd. "I will never kick J-Kidd to the curb," the coach had sworn the day before he kicked the Hall of Famer-to-be to that same curb.

So Woodson showed New Yorkers the kind of toughness he didn't get a chance to show them as a first-round pick of the Knicks in 1980, a year before they traded him to the Nets. Woodson had a good career as an NBA player, and so far he's had a good career as an NBA coach.

But he's said more than once he wants to be great, not good. And truth is, all Mike Woodson did in Game 5 was redeem his earlier second-round sins.

If the coach scores two more victories over the Pacers, he'll do a lot better than that.
 5 years ago '04        #9828
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Ian Begley

Brushing off allegations made by Rihanna about his excessive partying, J.R. Smith insisted on Thursday night that he has focused on basketball, not social media.

"I'm not worried about Instagram, I'm worried about the playoffs," Smith said after the New York Knicks' Game 5 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Smith faced a question about Rihanna on Thursday night after the pop star alleged on her Instagram account that Smith has been "hung over from clubbing every night during the playoffs."

Smith, the NBA's Sixth Man award winner, has struggled mightily in the postseason.

He's shooting 22-for-75 (29 percent) in five games against Indiana.

Smith and Rihanna were rumored to be dating and, according to a report in the New York Daily News, had been spotted at a club together after the Knicks' Game 2 win over Indiana.

Smith scored 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting against Indiana in Game 5.

"Hopefully the little bit of rhythm [I found in Game 5] carries over," Smith said.

No Amar'e, Kidd in second half: A day after saying he wouldn't kick Jason Kidd to the curb, Knicks coach Mike Woodson played the veteran point guard just 5 minutes, 20 seconds in Game 5. Kidd did not play in the second half. Neither did Amar'e Stoudemire. Stoudemire played 6:34 on Thursday, totaling two rebounds and two points.

Asked about not playing either player in the second half, Woodson said, "Coaching is a feel. It’s not always what player's want. Today it’s about winning. That’s all I’m in it for. I’m sure Kidd and Amar'e wanted to play but I don’t think they’ll complain about anything."

Kidd has not scored in his past eight games. He missed a layup in the second quarter of Game 5. It was his only shot attempt.

Chandler, Felton OK: Tyson Chandler said his back, neck and wrist were in pain after he hit the floor hard following a fourth-quarter spill. But the center said he will be fine for Game 6. Same goes for Ray Felton. Felton tweaked his ankle late in the game. It appeared that it was stepped on as he went after a loose ball and came up with a steal at the end of the third quarter. He limped to the podium in his postgame news conference. "My ankle is sore, but I'll be ready to go on Saturday," he said.

Double screen, double trouble: In the first half, Felton was 1-for-4 from the field and had only two points. So coming into the third quarter, Woodson had a game plan to get his best attacking point guard going. The overall strategy was to run a variation of double-screen sets for Felton to go from one wing to the other and then quickly turn the corner to explode for the layup or pull up for the jump shot.

In the second half, Felton ran the play about four or five times, some sequentially, and he scored on three of them. It surprised the Pacers, congesting their defense in the middle of the paint. Not only did Felton capitalize, but Chandler and Martin had their best performances of the series as roll men.

"We found a play that worked," Martin said. "With a team having difficulty guarding one play, you want to milk it as much as you can to see what you can get out of it."
 5 years ago '04        #9829
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

Was there any other way to respond?

J.R. Smith celebrated his improved performance (13 points, six rebounds, two a.ssists, three steals and a blocked shot) in the Knicks’ 86-75 Game 5 win over the Pacers by responding to singer Rihanna and his critics with an Instagram meme.


[pic - click to view]




"#LMFAO I had to do this!!!! #GreatMorningWorld!" Smith wrote in the caption below the photo.

For those of you not familiar with “Men in Black,” that’s Will Smith from the movie and the contraption in his hand erases people’s memories.

“I’m not worried about Instagram,” Smith said after the win that forced a Game 6 Saturday in Indiana. “I’m worried about the playoffs.”

Well, apparently he’s still a little worried about Instagram.
 5 years ago '04        #9830
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

Mike Woodson gave strong indications he will stick with the same rotation for tomorrow's do-or-die Game 6 that didn’t include Jason Kidd in the second half but the Knicks coach still supported the future Hall of Famer who appears to be running on fumes.

Ama’re Stoudmire also was benched in the second half in last night’s victory but his rustiness is obvious and expected. Kidd’s sudden decline is shocking. Kidd was scoreless for the ninth straight game, his blown layup his only shot attempt in 5:20.

But Woodson still thinks Kidd is ready to make something big happen soon, even if his minutes appear to be on the decline. Pablo Prigioni is the flavor of the moment. He logged 18:50 and was back in the starting lineup for victorious Game 5. The Knicks remain down 3-2 and facing elimination.

“Jason’s going through a tough stretch,’’ Woodson said on today's conference call. “But do I have confidence in putting Jason on the basketball floor? Absolutely. That will never go away. Jason played early on in the game and our lead grew when he was in the game. Those are the things that go unnoticed. Everyone’s so focused on him making a shot. Eventually he’s going to pop loose and make a big one. And we’re all going to say, OK, that’s the Jason we know. ‘’

Kidd hasn’t been as active defensively and he had zero rebounds last night – one he bobbled and allowed the Pacers to maintain possession. Still, Woodson sees little things he’s still doing.

“It’s the other intangible things he brings to the table, the leadership that’s more important to me when he’s on the floor than making a shot,’’ Woodson said. “I know he’s capable of making it. He’s had his struggles but still I’m not going to be hesitant on putting him in the game. ‘’

However, when asked if his rotation that didn’t include Kidd and Stoudemire in the second half will remain intact, Woodson said, “Those two guys just have to be ready to play. At this point, it’s about winning. We played a different rotation right now. It worked. We’ll look at that rotation again. We won the game.’’

Woodson wouldn’t address Stoudemire’s situation directly but it’s clear Chris Copeland is the better fit right now because he spaces the floor and even is more active on the boards than a rusty Stoudemire.
 5 years ago '04        #9831
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Johnette Howard

Tyson Chandler, get ready to take your mulligan. J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd? You too. The luckiest thing about where the Knicks found themselves when they woke up Friday -- wait, has Rihanna tweeted yet if Smith ever went to sleep at all? -- is despite nagging asides like Smith's shooting struggles and Chandler's difficult series and Kidd's mind-blowing 24-day streak without a field goal, the Knicks still gouged out the right to play on.

The Knicks stayed alive Thursday in their Eastern Conference semifinal series by having just enough guys revert to their season-long identity in Game 5. And they better be ready for the Pacers to revert to theirs now that they're back in Indy. Because the Pacers are better there. And the Knicks' situation in Game 6 Saturday in Indianapolis is still beat the Pacers again or go home.

Knicks HC Mike Woodson says, "Guys can't worry about minutes. It's what you do on the floor when you get minutes."

"It ain't scientific and it ain't no secret. We need to go down there and win a game."

The Pacers got their first three wins in this best-of-seven series because their big men, starting with 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert, turned those games into the sort of physically pounding nights that the Knicks (and especially Chandler, lately) can't match.

Chandler has been so frustrated and off his game, it was tempting to wonder what physical problems were bothering him even before he strode off the court Thursday and headed straight to the Knicks' locker room after a season-saving 85-75 win. Chandler didn't even bother to join the brief, on-court postgame huddle that the Knicks held to celebrate. Chandler has had a bad neck for weeks, and now he says he also has a barking back.

Either way, Chandler needs to play better. Smith has to be even better than the 4-for-11 shooting he provided Thursday. Raymond Felton needs to exploit the Pacers' backcourt whether or not Indy is again without starting point guard George Hill.

Hill was outplaying Felton in this series before he was a scratch Thursday with a late-diagnosed concussion. But that wasn't the only matchup the Knicks weren't dominating. All the Knicks have to play better. And they have to keep reminding themselves of this: As timely and gritty as Thursday's win was, they still only led by four with 6:40 to play. They still won by only 10 on a night the Pacers committed 19 turnovers and shot only 36 percent from the floor and missed 14 free throws and saw Hibbert lapse into foul trouble.

If the Pacers fix just one of those stat lines, it's a far different game.

No wonder the Pacers were highly frustrated and hissing at themselves afterward for not closing out the Knicks.

"We blew it," Lance Stephenson said.

"The game was right there for us," David West added.

"We played soft," Hibbert muttered.

The Pacers won't play that way again in Game 6. They're likely to roar out and slam the Knicks around.

And when they do, the Knicks also have to remember the pattern of this series is the team that's been most successful at imposing its style of play is the one that wins the game.

If the Knicks are going to get their first win of this season in five tries on the Pacers' home court they can't dither around like they did in Games 3 and 4 there, getting crushed in the rebounding battle or having Woodson tinkering with a bigger lineup in an effort to be something they're not.

"Our pace was much faster," Carmelo Anthony said after Thursday's win. "We sped the game up. I thought that was the key."

The Knicks need to trust if they play good defense and space the floor and pass the ball and create good shots that way, they'll win. They can't let the pace slow to a half-court game and stand around watching Hibbert play like an All-Star at both ends of the floor.

It's obvious Chandler can't take on Hibbert alone right now. The only thing that's really stopped Hibbert in this series has been foul trouble. The Knicks' better chance of bothering Hibbert is making sure Anthony -- sore shoulder and all -- remains willing to take the sort of pounding he did Thursday by going into the paint again and again, and putting Hibbert and Paul George into foul trouble almost by himself. (Celtics head coach Doc Rivers praised Anthony's ability to do the same thing to Boston's big men in the last series.)

Thursday, Anthony allowed during his postgame interview on TNT that the shoulder bothers him at times, but he's trying not to let it.

Later in the Knicks' locker room, he spoke about still believing the Knicks can become just the ninth NBA playoff team to roar back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series.

But to do that, Chandler, Smith, Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland need to milk the extra chances the Knicks earned by staying alive.

To get this series back to the Garden for Game 7, the Knicks have to keep rattling the Pacers' backcourt into disorganized offensive possessions and turnovers.

Woodson already used his mulligan for straying from the Knicks' season-long style in Game 4 but fixing it just in time for Game 5. His mistake was acting as if the team's small-ball style was the problem -- not a few no-shows among the players playing it. Thursday, he finally got tired of that and committed more time to Prigioni and less to Kidd; more to Copeland's scoring potential, and less to rusty Amar'e Stoudemire.

The Knicks still aren't out of danger.

As clutch as their win was, all it did was get them (and especially their struggling players) another chance.

Now let's see what they do with it.

"The difference in the games they've won is second-chance points and hustle points," Woodson said of the Pacers. "We've gotta win the battle of the boards ... All five guys"

The Knicks have no mulligans left.

Being merely good in Indy won't be good enough.
 5 years ago '07        #9832
Chief|m 54 heat pts54
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GOONIN AND COONIN
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 5 years ago '04        #9833
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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all day, errday
 5 years ago '04        #9834
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

Chris Copeland, a training-camp long shot who spent part of the season lugging around a pink knapsack as part of rookie hazing, may turn into a very attractive piece on the free-agent market.

Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald likely hopes Copeland will be part of the team’s future plans, especially after coach Mike Woodson finally turned to him in the crunch of a do-or-die Game 5 and he delivered 13 points and four rebounds in his 19 unexpected minutes in the Knicks’ 85-75 win over the Pacers Thursday night at the Garden.

Of all the summer additions, Copeland became the biggest revelation — even if Woodson refused to use him in the playoffs until Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Considering his numbers, versatility and a changing league bent on 3-pointers, Copeland may seek Steve Novak money, according to a person familiar with the situation. Novak landed a four-year, $16 million package last summer. Copeland has become a more versatile scorer — a 3-point specialist who can put the ball on the floor and score in the post.

Novak got the big number from the Knicks because, through an appeal with the Player’s a.ssociation, they were awarded Novak’s early Bird rights.

The Knicks won’t have any such rights in retaining the obscure Belgian Leaguer. The only other team that sent a scout last season to the Belgian League to watch Copeland was Miami, according to a source. It was quite a find by European scout Kevin Wilson, who is regarded highly in the organization.

The Knicks will extend Copeland his $900,000 qualifying offer to keep him restricted so they can match an offer. But they may be prohibited from matching any offer more than $3 million.

They would have to use one of their precious exceptions — the $1.9 million biannual exception or the $3 million mini mid-level exception given to luxury taxpayers. The Knicks don’t have the full $5 million mid-level because of their lousy cap situation. Copeland makes the league minimum, $473,000, this season.

* Amar’e Stoudemire played six minutes and none in the second half, finishing with two points without a field-goal attempt. He was not available for comment after the game. ... The Knicks committed just 10 turnovers. The Knicks’ 3-point shooting, which had been a weak spot recently, was much better last night. They made 7-of-18 attempts. ... Indiana’s Lance Stephenson had a rough night. Not only did he get slammed to the floor by Tyson Chandler on a dunk attempt, he finished 1-of-7 from the field.
 5 years ago '04        #9835
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — Saturday night, the Knicks either take a giant step toward South Beach by forcing a Game 7 at the Garden or their season is over.

The Knicks didn’t break their 40-year championship drought Thursday night in a season-saving 85-75 victory, but coach Mike Woodson may have found the formula to beat Indiana and zoom into the Eastern Conference Finals in Miami.

Woodson discovered a new second-half rotation that lacks Jason Kidd and a rusty Amar’e Stoudemire with rookie scoring ace Chris Copeland and point guard Pablo Prigioni taking their places. It spread the floor and made the Knicks look like themselves again.

Perhaps the basketball gods are finally smiling on this cursed franchise as the Knicks try to become only the ninth team to ever rally back from a 3-1 hole.

The status of Pacers point guard George Hill for tonight’s Game 6 or Monday’s Game 7 is a mystery, potentially a big break for the Knicks. Hill suffered a concussion and missed Game 5, and his availability is complicated by being forced to take tests under the NBA’s new concussion policy before being cleared.

The Knicks trail the Pacers 3-2 in this best-of-seven series, and are 0-4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season.

“We’ve got to validate what we did [Thursday] night,’’ Woodson said Friday. “That was a must win. Our backs were against the wall and still is. We lost Game 1 [at home]. We knew right then and there the only way to get out of this series is you’ve got to go get a game in Indiana and this is our last chance.’’

Carmelo Anthony, who didn’t have a field goal in the fourth quarter in either of the two losses at Indiana, played solid late in Game 5. He scored 28 points and looked more like himself, as did J.R. Smith, active on both ends even if his shot-making isn’t all the way back.

“We are trying to get a huge win on the road,’’ Anthony said. “We have proven we can win on the road but it’s a matter of who wants it. Indiana is definitely a tough place to win, but we feel like we have an opportunity to do something special.’’

Woodson said he’s sticking with what worked in Game 5 — politics and salaries be damned.

“Those two guys just got to be ready to play,’’ Woodson said of Kidd and Stoudemire. “At this point, it’s about winning. We played a different rotation [Thursday]. It worked. We’ll look at that rotation again. We won the game. And that’s all that should matter.’’

Woodson admitted he was a confused coach during the two losses in Indy.

“We did a lot of mixing and matching trying to find combinations,’’ he said. “The [expletive] didn’t work.’’

The Pacers’ offense was a wreck Thursday, partly because Hill, who has been excellent this series, wasn’t running the show. The Pacers aren’t deep at point guard and D.J. Augustin was overwhelmed. Lance Stephenson occasionally handled the ball as did Paul George.

The Knicks’ pressure on the ball had its effect. The Pacers shot 36.2 percent and committed 19 turnovers.

“We’ve been doing that all year,’’ Woodson said of the defensive pressure. “That’s nothing new. We’re one of better teams in the league in forcing turnovers. We have to continue to keep pressure up the floor with or without [Hill]. We’re preparing like he’s going to play.’’

After being out of the rotation mostly since Game 1 against Boston, Copeland played 19:25 in Game 5, scoring 13 points and draining 3-of-4 3-pointers. He’s a weapon Woodson can no longer ignore and Stoudemire is a risk the coach can no longer take. He still needs to shed more rust.

ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy told The Post recently Stoudemire is a very good player, but the question is would he be a very good fit? In this series, the answer is no. Stoudemire is not rebounding enough or being efficient in the low-post. Copeland even secured four rebounds Thursday.

“He helped out a lot in terms of spacing and being able to be a shotmaker,’’ Woodson said of Copeland.

Smith was his vibrant self — either spurred by a post-practice talk with John Starks or a message on Instagram from Rihanna that alleged his playoff downfall is because of him being “hung over.’’ Smith had an efficient 13 points, six rebounds, two a.ssists, three steals and one block.

“There’s no question he can do a lot more, [but] I thought he took a positive step forward without a doubt,’’ Woodson said. “He was much more alert, really ready to play. He made plays early. He was a big part of us winning that game. He made a very positive step forward.’’

As the Knicks can again Saturday night.
 5 years ago '04        #9836
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — During a quiet moment, in the locker room in Toronto, on the eve of his 40th birthday in March, Jason Kidd asked a group of Knicks beat writers if they thought he would make a good coach and whether he would enjoy being one.

Kidd said jokingly that dealing with the media several times a day would be one drawback. Kidd’s potential coaching career might be coming into sharper focus as he goes through a perplexing and historic nine-game scoreless streak.

That day in Toronto, Kidd admitted he wasn’t sure he would finish his entire three-year contract. Most a.ssumed, though, he would come back next season and the Knicks really hope so. But after this season, there’s no telling if Kidd wants to jump-start a coaching career and forgo the $6 million left on his deal.

Kidd’s playoff struggles have been well documented, and coach Mike Woodson benched the veteran the entire second half of the Knicks’ 85-75 Game 5 win over the Pacers.

“Jason’s going through a tough stretch,’’ Woodson said on Friday’s conference call. “But do I have confidence in putting Jason on the basketball floor? Absolutely. That will never go away.’’

Woodson limited Kidd to just 5:20 of playing time before a quick hook after he blew a layup and let a rebound bounce off his hands. Woodson said he would have a similar rotation for tonight’s potential final game of Kidd’s career as the Knicks-Pacers battle in do-or-die Game 6.

Nevertheless, Woodson also said he still thinks Kidd has some big moments in him.

“Jason played early on in the game and our lead grew when he was in the game,’’ Woodson said. “Those are the things that go unnoticed. Everyone’s so focused on him making a shot. Eventually he’s going to pop loose and make a big one. And we’re all going to say, ‘OK, that’s the Jason we know.’”

Kidd has been scarce with the media recently. Perhaps he is playing with an undisclosed back injury. Or dead legs. Kidd is arguably the smartest player of his generation, but it’s not inconceivable tonight is his last game as a player in a Hall-of-Fame career.

“It’s the other intangible things he brings to the table, the leadership that’s more important to me when he’s on the floor than making a shot,’’ Woodson said. “I know he’s capable of making it. He’s had his struggles but still I’m not going to be hesitant on putting him in the game.”

* Even after a nice summer league with the Knicks, Woodson said he didn’t think 29-year-old rookie Chris Copeland would make the team out of training camp.

“All of our coaches have had a hand in dealing with Chris this season since the summer,’’ Woodson said of his development from camp long shot to saving the Knicks season in Game 5. “He was a young man we didn’t think had a chance to make our ballclub. We didn’t think he was physically equipped to play at this level. It took him a while. He sat and learned patiently.

“We played him sparingly here and there. Each time he played he’s been productive.’’

The Knicks may need to use their $3 million mini-mid-level exception to re-sign him and could be outbid.
 5 years ago '04        #9837
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Mark Hale

INDIANAPOLIS — More like Out-dianapolis for Raymond Felton.

In the Knicks’ 106-99 season-ending Game 6 loss to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse last night, Felton, who struggled in Game 3 in Indianapolis, delivered another miserable performance. The point guard missed all seven of his shots from the field, scoring two points.

Though Felton dished out a game-high-tying six a.ssists, his floater — a huge weapon for him — was off the mark. He missed on multiple drives and only got two free-throw tries — both in the first quarter.

“[The floater] wasn’t falling,” Felton said. “My jump shot was going in and out at the rim. It’s frustrating, especially when it’s a big game like this.”

Felton’s Game 6 flop was almost an identical to his Game 3 disaster, in which he shot 1-for-8 and scored six points.

Felton did rebound in Game 4 with a 14-point effort (7-of-16 from the field), and he was terrific in Game 5 at the Garden, putting up a second half of 10 points, five rebounds, four a.ssists and three steals.

But when it mattered most, Felton was brutal.

In the final two games of the series, the Knicks were called for a whopping 64 fouls, while the Pacers were whistled 34 times, but Felton declined to comment on the officiating.

“No comment on that,” Felton said.

In Felton’s return campaign to New York after being shipped out to the Nuggets two years ago in the Carmelo Anthony deal, he enjoyed a strong regular season. He replaced fan favorite Jeremy Lin and helped to lead the Knicks to the Atlantic Division title and 54 wins.

Putting aside his Indiana struggles, it was a strong postseason for Felton. The point guard arguably was the Knicks’ MVP in the series against the Celtics.
 5 years ago '04        #9838
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Mark Hale

INDIANAPOLIS — After it ended, J.R. Smith said he looked at his Knicks jersey and thought about how he doesn’t want to leave New York.

“I want to retire a Knick,” said Smith, who can opt out of his contract this offseason, in the aftermath of the Knicks’ season-ending 106-99 Game 6 defeat. “I don’t want to go anywhere else.”

As it was last postseason against Miami, when Smith ended his campaign with a miserable playoff series that cast doubt about his future with the Knicks, Smith did the same last night. Smith began the night 1-for-7 from the field and finished a brutal 4-for-15 en route to 15 points.

Smith had an atrocious Pacers series. When the Knicks were down 3-1, he said, “I take the blame for this whole series.” Smith finished the series shooting a woeful 26-for-90 (29 percent). Counting his last two games against the Celtics, he ended his playoffs in a 34-for-117 (29 percent) shooting slump.

“They tried to rely on me, and I didn’t step up,” Smith said. “Regardless of what that says about me or my game, that won’t happen again.”

Smith, a New Jersey native, averaged a career-high 18.1 points in the regular season, developing into the Knicks’ second scorer behind Carmelo Anthony and earning him the Sixth Man Award honors. In a silent postgame locker room last night, Smith walked over to Anthony’s locker and clasped hands with him.

Smith hit a huge 3 to tie the game at 72-72 in the third quarter, capping the Knicks’ stunning 12-2 game-changing surge. Other than that big bucket and 10 rebounds, his shot was simply too erratic.

“Unsatisfied,” he said of his emotions. “I hate losing more than I like winning.”

After professing his desire to stay in New York, Smith said he had not considered whether he would give the Knicks a discount in free agency.

“I haven’t even thought about all that,” he said. “I’ve still got to talk to Leon [Rose, agent] and see where we’re at.”
 5 years ago '04        #9839
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — After being benched for the second half for the second straight playoff game, Amar’e Stoudemire is confused with his role with the Knicks going forward.

His injury-wracked season never included a single start and ended with coach Mike Woodson not trusting the $100 million man after the first two quarters.

When asked if next season he should come back as a starter alongside Carmelo Anthony, Stoudemire made his loudest statement.

“We didn’t give it a chance,’’ Stoudemire said after the Knicks’ season ended in heartbreak in a 106-99 loss to the Pacers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. “We need to understand exactly what my style of play is and what I bring to the table. It’s something I have to sit down with Coach Woody and express to him.’’

Stoudemire played just 5:47 of the first half in his fourth straight playoff game after missing nearly two months following his second knee debridement surgery. Stoudemire scored just two points and picked up two bad fouls.

Stoudemire donned a black yarmulke leaving yesterday’s morning shoot-around at Bankers Life Field House. Stoudemire, who claims to have Jewish roots on his mother’s side, hoped to unleash his talentsin the do-or-die Game 6 but his opportunity never materialized as he didn’t see the court in the second half for the second straight game.

But last night, Stoudemire, hoping for better fortunes, played an ineffective first half (1-of-3, one turnover) again.

Stoudemire played just 29 regular-season games this season. Ultimately, Anthony didn’t have enough help in the playoffs as J.R. Smith — who had just 15 points last night on 4-of-15 shooting (2-of-9 from 3-point range) didn’t rise up as the Knicks’ secondary scorer.

Asked about the injuries, Stoudemire said late last night, “It’s pretty much been the season for me. Without a doubt. There’s no doubt about it.’’

Asked about his wearing of the yarmulke for spiritual luck, Stoudemire said, “Shabbat Shalom, buddy.’’

Earlier in the day, when asked about his second-half benching in Game 5, Stoudemire said, “It’s alright — as long as we won the game. That’s all that matters.’’

Stoudemire said Woodson hadn’t explained his predicament. Now he definitely would like to talk with his coach with the season finished.

* Woodson said he probably played a few times with concussions during his playing career, from 1980-91. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the NBA has new concussion rules in which a player must pass a series of tests before the league clears him to play. Pacers point guard George Hill was indeed cleared last night, and scored 12 points and added five rebounds and four a.ssists .

“Back in the day, I know I’ve taken some blows,’’ Woodson said. “You could easily call it concussion but, hell, you just play. But that’s the policy. And it’s a good policy.because again this is still a basketball game and you have to deal with your health. That’s more important.’’
 5 years ago '04        #9840
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — Carmelo Anthony was finally having his bust-out game, carrying 35 points into the fourth quarter. Melo went bust in the final period, though, and the Knicks season went right along with him.

The Pacers are headed to South Beach with a 106-99 Game 6 victory last night at euphoric Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Knicks are headed home well short of their goals.

In their first Eastern Conference semifinal appearance in 13 years, the Knicks underwhelmed as their 40-year championship drought extends another year. They failed to meet lofty expectations in losing the best-of-seven series 4-2 and failing to get to Miami. Pacers fans chanted “Beat the Heat’’ at the final buzzer.

Anthony finished with 39 points, but missed his first five shots of the fourth and committed three giant turnovers. Anthony’s fourth quarters in the three games in Indianapolis were awful, with just two field goals total.

Anthony still called it “a hell of a year.’’

“We took steps forward as an organization,’’ he said. “We’ll take that. We’ll be back better and stronger, that’s for sure.’’

That might be a tough sell as the premier free agent, point guard Chris Paul, is unattainable because the Knicks aren’t permitted to do a sign-and-trade this summer.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson wouldn’t call a second-round flameout an underachievement.

“This is the first time this team has ever been a.ssembled,’’ said Woodson, who again benched Amar’e Stoudemire and Jason Kidd in the second half. “We did a lot of special things this season. To walk away from tonight and say this was a disaster, absolutely not. We had high expectations when we set out at training camp and our goal was to win an NBA title. We played like it throughout the season.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t get it done. Me being the head coach, I take full responsibility.’’

Anthony scored just four fourth-quarter points, but he hardly got help. Point guard Raymond Felton sputtered through a nightmare 0-for-7, two-point evening and J.R. Smith’s shooting slump carried on with a 4-of-14 outing.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s Lance Stephenson k!lled his hometown team with a monstrous performance, 25 points, going 9 of 13, and making the Knicks pay for not drafting him in the second round three years ago.

“It’s tough to be out of the playoffs,’’ Felton said. “There’s a lot of emotions. It hurts right now.’’

In a huge momentum-killer midway through the fourth, Anthony roared down the right baseline and rose for a big dunk when 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert met him at the rim and blocked it squarely.

“It was a hell of a block,’’ Anthony said. “It shifted the momentum.’’

Indeed, things unraveled from there for Melo, who then was called for a charge. Tied at 92, Anthony’s pass was picked off by Stephenson, who sprinted all the way for a layup and was fouled by Smith. Stephenson completed the three-point play, the Pacers led 95-92 and that was that.

“We all know what the goal was,’’ Anthony said. “Everybody wanted to go to the championship [round]. Unfortunately our run has to stop here. We regroup and come back better next year.’’

Hibbert outplayed center Tyson Chandler all series. The big center is now Miami’s problem. Hibbert finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Chandler fouled out with 3:12 left on a drive by Stephenson to finish off the Knicks center’s lousy series.

The Knicks committed 34 fouls to the Pacers’ 16 — a huge disparity. Asked about the officiating, Kenyon Martin said, “I’ll save my money, man.’’

Anthony scored his first points of the fourth with 2:08 left on a drive, but then gave up a bucket when Stephenson scored over him in the post with 1:53 left.

Anthony finally got help from Iman Shumpert, who hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter to help with the comeback as the teams entered the fourth tied at 81.

“We wanted to put ourselves in the finals and roll the dice and we didn’t do that,’’ said Shumpert, who chipped in with 19 points.

Anthony had an excellent 20-point first half, but got no help from Smith, his wingman, in the half or in the series.

“We felt all year we were in the top two in the East,’’ Indiana’s David West said. “Coach [Frank] Vogel talked 2 1/2 months ago, you’re going to have to beat the Knicks to get where we want to get.’’

The Pacers did. And the Knicks don’t even get to a Game 7.
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