Both David and Bill picked this series to come about, Moving on.
So how does this series play-out?
David: I am stunned the Celtics took it to the Knicks like they did, I didn’t expect them to beat the Celtics down like they did the first two games, then basically be useless the next 4 games. Had the Celtics been able to hit the floor with the ball, we would be looking at game 7 here- if not a Celtics/Pacers series.
The Pacers/Hawks series played out as staggeringly bad as we thought it would be, I really do hope that Frank Vogel’s contract ends soon, I think he might be a top 5 coach.
Oddly enough, this series comes down to David West. If he can make Melo work, and do something to limit his offense, the Pacers win. The Knicks are going to have to manufacture 60+ points with Amare, Ray and the rest- and then use Melo to get them the other 30. The Pacers can get 15-20 points from 3-4 guys, and get easy buckets when the Knicks inevitably fail to pay attention.
So who takes this? I have a problem. My mind says Pacers, they are better coached, have more options and the defense is better. If I knew Roy was going to play and get me even 15/8 every game- I’d take the Pacers in 5. If he sits on 12/5, then the Knicks might sweep them. I’m a fan of David West, so I’m going to be a coward and take Pacers in 7.
DJ: The Knicks were pushed to 6 games by the veteran Celtics, but this Pacers team isn’t as experienced as Boston. The Knicks were at a severe disadvantage for 1 game when JR Smith was sitting on the sidelines, otherwise the series would have been over in 5 games.
This series will be interesting because both teams can play defense and on paper, the Pacers have more players who can contribute. But, the Knicks have 2 explosive scorers in Melo and JR.
The wild card could turn out to be Amare, he missed the first round series. Amare gives NY a big man who is capable of scoring 14-15 points per game off the bench.
Chandler will shut down and limit Mr Olowokandi, errrr….I mean Hibbert. I also like the matchup of Felton vs Hill at PG. Felton played well in 1st round while Hill struggled against Atlanta.
NY wins in 6.
Bill: As David mentioned, I figured this series would come about. I, too, am rather surprised at how BOS managed to really take it to the Knicks on several occasions during their series, all still without the services of Rajon Rondo running the offense. On that note, this series very well may have not taken place had the furious run by BOS not come to an untimely end last night.
Moving forward, I look to a mixed bag with this series. The Knicks seem to have more firepower on the perimeter than IND, but IND makes up for that perimeter scoring down in the trenches. On a nightly basis, the teams’ dynamic can switch at a moment’s notice. That said, it will be interesting to see which team is able to make more use of their strengths in order to come out victorious.
As DJ pointed out, Stoudemire returning could be a wildcard of some measure for the Knicks. When he’s on the floor, he brings scoring and explosiveness as well as stretches the defense to cover him out to 20+ feet. David West should be up to the task of guarding him and is no slouch from the outside. That matchup should be a good one if Stoudemire returns fully healthy.
My outcome? IND in 6.
EJ: Pacers-Knicks. Just as I thought it would be about a month ago. A month ago I thought the Knicks would just blow by the Pacers but something about their play on the court, and their attitudes off the court have me wondering if they are able to advance past the Pacers and into the Eastern Conference Finals against their likely opponent: the Miami Heat.
The Celtics hard nosed play frustrated the Knicks and the Pacers play just as hard as the Celtics do, but unlike the C’s the Pacers are younger and more athletic. I could easily see Carmelo and JR Smith being pushed around by Hibbert, West, and Lance Stephenson.
Stephenson will be the X-factor. The former Lincoln High school star from Brooklyn should relish the chance to knock out his hometown team. Now in his 3rd season the kid has turned himself into a frustrating defender, and he still has that fearless “Born Ready” attitude. I think his presence will go a long way for the Pacers who will win this series in 7 games.
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